Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum Lion Japan Open
Saturday 15th June
Sun Wen steals limelight
A first appearance on the ITTF World Tour, his only previous international excursion being earlier this year on the ITTF Challenge Series in February in Portugal, when losing to Sweden’s Truls Moregard in the second round, China’s Sun Wen continued to exceed all expectations on Saturday 15th June at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum Lion Japan Open.
At the quarter-final stage of the men’s singles event he beat colleague Liang Jingkun, the no.6 seed (11-6, 13-11, 2-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7), a success that rather put into the shadows the fact that China’s reigning Olympic and World champion experienced defeat in the same round!
Ma Long, the no.5 seed, was beaten by colleague Fan Zhendong, the top seed, in five games (14-12, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5).
Also the efforts of Sun Wen usurped those of Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and China’s Xu Xin. Lin Yun-Ju, the no.16 seed, displayed immense control to beat Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.7 seed (13-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10) and thus booked his place in his first ever ITTF World Tour men’s singles semi-final. Xu Xin, the no.3 seed, was in no mood for charity; he accounted for Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin, the no.8 seed, in straight games (11-5, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5).
Meanwhile at the quarter-final stage of the women’s singles event, Sun Yingsha, like Sun Wen a qualifier, beat colleague Wang Manyu, the no.3 seed (11-2, 12-10, 11-4, 11-9).
Impressive from Sun Yingsha, it was the same from Liu Shiwen. She underlined the reasons why she is the world champion; the no.4 seed, she ended the hopes of Liu Fei, also from China, in five games (11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-1, 11-5). Likewise there was success for Chen Meng but she was tested. The no.2 seed, she beat Chinese national team colleague and qualifier, Gu Yuting in seven games (11-2, 12-10, 11-4, 11-9).
Success for China, by definition, there was also success for Japan. Miu Hirano, the no.9 seed, booked her place in the penultimate round; she accounted for Japanese colleague, Hitomi Sato, the no.14 seed (12-10, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8).
Meanwhile in the men’s doubles event, once again the 2013 World champions fell short, never present in an ITTF World Tour men’s doubles final, Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.4 seeds, lost to Germany’s Benedikt Duda and Qiu Dang (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-1). In the final the German duo faces Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the no.6 seeds; in the penultimate round, they beat colleagues Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan, the no.3 seeds (11-5, 11-8, 11-5).
China present in force in the men’s doubles final; in the women’s doubles, gold in guaranteed. In the penultimate round Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, the top seeds, beat Japanese teenagers Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki the no.8 seeds (9-11, 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6), Chen Meng and Liu Shiwen, the no.5 seeds, overcame Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu, the no.6 seeds in four games (11-5, 11-3, 9-11, 11-6).
Titles to be decided, in the mixed doubles event, the decision has been made. After accounting for Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching, the no.4 seeds (11-6, 11-7, 11-4), Xu Xin and Zhu Yuling, the no.5 seeds, beat Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata (12-10, 11-6, 11-5) to reserve the top step of the podium.
Play concludes in Sapporo on Sunday 16th June.
By Ian Marshall, Editor
Photo Credit: ITTF