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Friday 21st April

Lim Jonghoon keeps Korean hopes alive

Winner of the Under 21 Men’s Singles title one day earlier, Lim Jonghoon was the player to attract the attention as the opening round of the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Korea Open in Incheon came to a close on the late morning of Friday 21st April.

Required to compete in the qualification tournament, the 20 year old, upset the order of merit; he beat Japan’s Yuto Muramatsu, the no.11 seed, in four straight games (11-6, 11-7, 11-5, 11-1).

The win meant not only did he record his first ever win over Yuto Muramatsu in an international tournament; additionally, he became the only Korean to progress to the second round of the Men’s Singles event.

Although now some year ago, on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in 2010 in both Chengdu and on home soil in Korea, Yuto Muramatsu had beaten Lim Jonghoo; two years later at the Volkswagen 2012 World Junior Championships in Hyderabad he repeated the feat.

One surprise outcome but in the remaining contests that brought the second round to a conclusion, it was success for the higher rated player with Chinese Taipei enjoying notable progress and Japan experiencing a further defeat.

Chen Chien-An, the no.13 seed beat Kazuhiro Yoshimura (11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 14-12); whilst Chinese Taipei colleague, Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.2 seed, overcame Sweden’s Anton Källberg (6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-1, 11-9). In the one remaining opening round contest, Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.5 seed, overcame Germany’s Benedikt Duda (11-6, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9).

Meanwhile, as matters concluded in the first round of the Women’s Singles event; results went as predicted.

Japan involved in all four contests, it was two wins and two defeats. Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seed, accounted for Singapore’s Zhou Yihan (11-6,13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10); Hina Hayata, the no.12 seed, overcame Korea’s Song Maeum (11-4, 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10).

Conversely, Miyu Maeda was beaten by Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.3 seed (13-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6); Natsumi Nakata experienced defeat at the hands of Singapore’s Zeng Jian, the no.13 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9).

The second rounds of both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events will be played later in the day.


Thursday 20th April

Dramatic ending to exhilarating day, top seed falls at Romanian hands

Runner up in Belgium in September 2015, his best finish on the ITTF World Tour to date; on Thursday 20th April, Romania’s Hunor Szocs gave his best performance to date.

In the opening round of the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Korea Open in Incheon, the 25 year old beat the host nation’s Jeoung Youngsik, the top seed, in six games (11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-8).

Required to compete in the qualification tournament, Hunor Szocs presently stands at no.89 on the Men’s World Rankings; Jeoung Youngsik, who did not participate in last week’s Seamaster 2017 ITTF Asian Championships owing to a wrist injury, occupies the no.8 spot.

 “I feel unbelievable beating a top 10 world ranked player; it´s even more spectacular to do it in Korea against the top seed in the tournament. I felt very positive and confident from the beginning of the match as I knew he was coming back after an injury. I am in a good shape right now. I adjusted quite well to the new balls I got quickly into the match. The key point to my success was being able to counter his strong backhand. After that everything occurred automatically.” Hunor Szocs

Defeat and for Jeoung Youngsik means that a new name will be added to the tournament’s roll of honour; he is the only previous Men’s Singles winner on duty; he won two years ago beating colleague, Joo Saehyuk in the final.

“At this stage with the number seeded eliminated anything is possible, I am optimistic and will try to do my best. My objective for this tournament was wining first round so I can enter the top 64 seeding list for the Liebherr 2017 World Championships. I don´t want to settle with this result but wait until the end of the competition to be able to enjoy it. I have time until tomorrow to rest and recover against the next match.” Hunor Szocs

Delight for Hunor Szocs, the end of the road for the top seed and as the day concluded, two further seeds departed. Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.16 seed, was beaten by Singapore’s Gao Ning (11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5); Japan’s Yuya Oshima, the no.10 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of Germany’s Patrick Franziska (11-5, 11-13, 12-10, 11-2, 11-8).

Upsets but in the remaining contests that were enacted as matters came to an end on the first day of play in the main event, it was victory for the higher rated.

Timo Boll, the no.3 seed, added to German success by beating Park Jeongwoo (11-5, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8); likewise, Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.3 seed, ended Korean hopes. He accounted for Cho Seungmin (11-5, 11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 12-10).

Success for Japan; there was more success for the Land of the Rising Sun but there was also defeat. Kenta Matsudaira, the no.8 seed, beat Korea’s Jang Woojin (11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 14-12, 11-7); conversely, Masataka Morizono suffered at the hands of Frenchman, Simon Gauzy, the no.6 seed (11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6).

Progress for Simon Gauzy and there was also progress for Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson; the no.14 seed, he ended the adventures of Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu (11-3, 11-6, 11-4, 8-11, 4-11, 11-7).

Play in the first round of the Men’s Singles event continues on Friday 21st April.

Surprises abound, Korea celebrates; pride of place for Lee Zion

Upset followed upset, as play in the top half of the draw in the Women’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Korea Open came to a close on the evening of Thursday 20th April in Incheon.

Furthermore, there was cause for the host nation to celebrate; Lee Zion and Choi Hyojoo, alongside Japan’s Miyu Kato and Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu were the players responsible for the surprises.

In fact just one contest went according to status; Jeon Jihee, the no.9 seed, beat Japan’s Maki Shiomi to add to the host nation’s delight. She emerged successful in six games (11-6, 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 13-11).

Pride of place went to Lee Zion, currently no World ranking owing to an absence from the international scene but on duty last week at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF-Asian Championships, the 20 year old accounted for Japan’s Mima Ito, the no.4 seed (11-3, 11-8, 6-11, 2-11, 12-10, 11-9).

"I have never played before against Mima Ito but I could feel she was very nervous as she is much higher ranked than me. I felt no pressure so I was able to be more active and play my own game. My objective was to win against a higher ranked player, now achieving that goal; I hope to continue this way.” Lee Zion

Disappointment for Japan at the hands of Korean opposition, not once but twice; at the same time as Lee Zion was facing Mima Ito, Choi Hyunjoo was ending the hopes of Hitomi Sato, the no.10 seed. In a similar manner Choi Hyojoo prevailed in six games (11-4, 4-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5).

Two unexpected defeats for Japan and there was one more; Misaki Morizono, the no.14 seed, was beaten by Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu in yet another six games encounter (6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4).

One reverse after another for the Land of the Rising Sun; however, there was a shining light amongst the aspiring young group. Miyu Kato beat Germany’s Petrissa Solja, the no.8 seed, in seven games (11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7) to somewhat balance the books

"I had a fighting spirit throughout the entire match and in the final stages of each game I kept calm and confident; that made the difference.” Miyu Kato

Surprises in the top half of the draw but as play concluded with contests in the lower half, the end results were as status advised; Japan enjoying notable success.

Miu Hirano, the no.5 seed, beat Singapore’s Lin Ye (12-10, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7); Sakura Mori, the no.16 seed, overcame Romania’s Bernadette Szocs (11-3, 19-17, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8), whilst Germany’s Shan Xiaona ended the hopes of the host nation’s Lee Eunhye (11-8, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7).

Play in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event continues on Friday 21st April.