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Wednesday 14th June


Major event silver medallists, exit at first attempt in Tokyo

Podium places at two recent major international tournaments, it was the bitter taste of defeat for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Korea’s Jeong Sangeun in their opening matches at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum Lion Japan Open in Tokyo on Wednesday 14th June.

Chen Chien-An who had partnered Cheng I-Ching to a silver medal finish in the Mixed Doubles event at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf was beaten by the host nation’s Yuki Hirano (12-10, 11-7, 11-6, 17-15); Jeong Sangeun, the runner up some two months ago in the Men’s Singles event at Seamaster 2017 ITTF Asian Championships in Wuxi, lost to Andrea Landrieu of France (7-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7).

Most notable wins, Chen Chien-An is named at no.36 on the current Men’s World Rankings, Yuki Hirano, the younger brother of Sayaka Hirano but no relation to Miu Hirano, has not appeared internationally since the 2016 United States Open.

On that occasion he was beaten at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event by the wizardry of the Chinese defender Ho Yingchao (8-11, 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7). Thus some six months without an international appearance, he has no world ranking.

Meanwhile, Jeong Sangeun is named at no.37 in the global order, Andrea Landrieu, winner of the Cadet Boys’ Singles event at the 2011 European Youth Championships is at no.160.

Two surprise exits on their first visit to the table and there were plenty more in the Men’s Singles qualification tournament; Portugal being the nation to suffer.

Listed at no.184 on the current World Rankings, João Geraldo was beaten by Korea’s Park Jeongwoo, named at no.73 (13-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 16-14); João Monteiro who stands at no.114, lost to Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Hung-Chieh, presently at no.114 (6-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8).

Surprises but perhaps the fact that both Park Jeongwoo and Chiang Hung-Chieh had been required to compete in the opening round gave them a very slight advantage. Park Jeongwoo had beaten Singapore’s Pang Xue Jie (11-4, 12-10, 11-4, 11-4); Chiang Hung-Chieh had ousted Russia’s Anvar Imankadyrov (11-3, 11-2, 11-1, 12-10).

Similarly, that factor may well have been a reason for the success gained by Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck, listed at no.106 on the rankings. After overcoming Frenchman Joe Seyfried (9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4), he caused an upset of not by defeating Slovakia’s Wang Yang, named at no.61 (11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9).

Success against the odds for visitors to Tokyo, it was the same for the host nation.

No current World Ranking, Tonin Ryuzaki beat Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi, listed at no.56 (9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10), Kenta Tazoe, named at no.120 overcame Frenchman Tristan Flore, ranked no.50 (7-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8). Likewise, Jin Ueda ended the hopes of Lam Siu Hang, like Jiang Tianyi from Hong Kong (11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4). Currently on the Men’s World Rankings, Lam Siu Hang is at no.80, Jin Ueda at no.115.

Upsets as the top half of the Men’s Singles qualification tournament but for two players on which eyes were focused, there were no such problems.

Germany’s Bastian Steger, at no.33 the highest rated player in the Men’s Singles qualification tournament duly emerged successful in his opening encounter, he beat Belgium’s Robin Devos (13-11, 11-2, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10).

Likewise, 13 year old Tomokazu Harimoto, quarter-finalist at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships, overcame Sweden’s Jon Persson (14-12, 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 12-10).

Play in the qualification tournament concludes on Thursday 15th June.


Fine start for Romania, Andreea Dragoman takes pride of place

A long journey for Romania, but on the opening day of play, Wednesday 14th June, in the Women’s Singles qualification tournament that precedes the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum Lion Japan Open, the travel to Tokyo proved most worthwhile.

Bernadette Szocs, Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman all emerged successful in their initial matches.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Pride of place went to 16 year old Andreea Dragoman; she was the one member of the trio to upset the order of merit. Currently listed at no.166 on the Women’s World Rankings, she accounted for Korea’s Song Maeum, named at no.86, in a hard fought six games encounter (12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 10-12, 15-13).

Success against the odds for Andreea Dragoman, for Bernadette Szocs and Adina Diaconu, it was success as status advised.

Bernadette Szocs beat Russia’s Mariia Vinogradova (11-7, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7), Adina Diaconu overcame Chinese Taipei’s Li Yun-Jhun (11-6, 11-2, 11-3, 6-11, 11-5). Presently Bernadette Szocs is named at no.55 on the Women’s World Rankings, Adina Diaconu is at no.74; neither Mariia Vinogradova nor Li Yun-Jhun possesses a World ranking.

Opening round success for three notable Europeans who could well form the national team in years to come; it was the very same from three Chinese young ladies, seeking to challenge the likes of Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling for a place in the first team.

Chen Ke and Yuan Xuejiao both beat Hong Kong adversaries. Chen Ke accounted for Ng Wing Nam (9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4), Yuan Xuejiao ended the hopes of Mak Tze Wing (11-7, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4); meanwhile, Sung Yingsha; accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Wen (11-3, 11-4, 11-7, 11-4).

Impressive performances and very much names to note; none of the Chinese trio possesses a current world ranking. Ng Wing Nam is at no.56, Mak Tze Wing at no.103, Huang Yu-Wen at no.161.

Upsets, maybe according to statistics but not in reality; however, there was one result that in addition to the efforts of Adina Diaconu, did raise the eyebrows. Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chia-Chin, ranked no.151, beat Austria’s Amelie Solja, named at no.109; the 26 year old emerged successful in five games (11-2, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9).

A surprise but for the one player required to compete in the opening round who is the proud owner of an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles title, it was success. Portugal’s Shao Jieni who emerged victorious in Lagos in 2015 and 2016, overcame Korea’s Park Joohyun (6-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8, 12-10).

Play in the qualification stage of the Women’s Singles event concludes on Thursday 15th June.