Testing times for Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit, DPR Korea’s Pak Sin Hyok and India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran but it was success as third round places were booked in the Men’s Singles event at the 2018 Asian Games in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta on Thursday 30th August.
All eventually overcame redoubtable adversaries; all advanced by recording six games wins.
Pak Sin Hyok, the no.16 seed, eventually overcame Qatar’s powerful Abdulrahaman Al-Naggar (6-11, 11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8); Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.11 seed, accounted for the host nation’s Ficky Supit Santoso (11-3, 9-11, 14-12, 11-1, 9-11, 11-7), a young man who over a decade ago very much made his presence felt on the ITTF World Junior Circuit.
Meanwhile, for Ho Kwan Kit it was back to business after the previous day when he had secured bronze in the Mixed Doubles event partnering Lee Ho Ching. Coached by Liu Guodong, he ended the hopes of a spirited adversary in the guise of Vietnam’s Nguyen Duc Tuan (11-8, 6-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7).
“I think I played better at the start of the match but maybe I’m still too excited over winning bronze in the Mixed Doubles event last night, so I kind of let my guard down in the match. Also, my opponent actually played very well and was attacking aggressively. After two-two, I tried to play more patiently, after he came back from 1-4 down in the last game, my coach told me to be calm and vary my service a little more, because my opponent had adapted to my serves and was receiving comfortably.” Ho Kwan Kit.
Meanwhile, for Nguyen Duc Tuan, arguably more exposure against players of a similar level is required; he came near but not near enough.
“I played quite well today, it could have been better if I played my normal level. Winning the fourth game did give me more confidence but I think I’m still a bit nervous playing against opponents of such high level.” Nguyen Duc Tuan.
Hard fought wins, for the very elite names reserving their places in the last 16 was less fraught. China’s Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan were certainly in a hurry to reserve their places at the dining table. Fan Zhendong beat Macao’s Xiao Zikang (11-5, 11-2, 11-4, 11-6); in a similar manner, Lin Gaoyuan ousted Malaysia’s Leong Chee Feng (11-6, 11-6, 11-2, 11-6).
Similarly, Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu, the no.3 seed, prevailed against Sonpasith Mosangsinh of Laos (11-1, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5); Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes and aspirations of Jann Mari Nayre from the Philippines (9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-4, 11-5).
The third round and quarter-final matches in the Men’s Singles event will be played on Friday 31st August; the semi-finals and finals on Saturday 1st September.