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Tension mounts, first semi-finalists decided

Sunday 15 September

2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships

Yogyakarta, Sunday 15th September


Tension mounts, first semi-finalists decided

The complete semi-final lists yet to be decided but on Sunday 15th September at 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships in Yogyakarta, in each of the men’s team and women’s team events, two places were determined.

Furthermore, they were decided in most contrasting fashions, China supreme; Korea Republic and Chinese Taipei emerging successful in thrilling hard fought contests.

Hero of the hour in the men’s team event for Korea Republic, the no.2 seeds, in opposition to Hong Kong, the no.5 seeds, was Jang Woojin. In the opening match of the fixture he beat Wong Chun Ting (11-7, 11-8, 13-11) before in the vital fifth and deciding contest overcoming Ho Kwan Kit (13-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-5).

“Two years ago at the Asian Championships, we came back from 0-2 and beat Hong Kong 3-2. The match was really tough, this time the match was also very difficult. Two years ago I was very young and lacked competitive experience. Today I felt more pressured. I am happy we won.” Jang Woojin

Success for Jang Woojin but it was not the best of days for Lee Sangsu, he was beaten by both Ho Kwan Kit (11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9) and Wong Chun Ting (11-9. 11-9, 11-9); the one further win for Korea Republic accrued in the third match of the fixture, Jeoung Youngsik accounted for Lam Siu Hang (11-5, 11-8, 11-5).

Conversely, earlier in the day, China, the top seeds, had shown no hint of mercy against Singapore, the no.6 seeds. Fan Zhendong beat Pang Yew En Koen (11-5, 11-4, 11-4), before Wang Chuqin accounted for Ethan Poh Shao Feng (11-4, 11-8, 11-5). Liang Jingkun overpowered Josh Chua Shao Han (11-4, 11-3, 11-0) to complete the victory.

Soon after, also occupying the top seeded position, it was a similar performance in the women’s team event against DPR Korea, the no.5 seeds. Liu Shiwen set the standard, she beat Kim Nam Hae (11-5, 11-4, 11-2), Sun Yingsha overcome Cha Hyo Sim (11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5), prior to Wang Manyu proving too consistent for the defensive skills extolled by Kim Song I (11-4, 11-3, 11-7), the Rio 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist.

Comfortable for China, for Chinese Taipei, the no.6 seeds against Hong Kong, the no.3 seeds, it was the total opposite, the fixture concluding eventually on Monday morning at 12.21 am.

Chen Szu-Yu emerged the heroine for Chinese Taipei, in the opening match of the engagement she beat Doo Hoi Kem (11-9, 11-1, 11-8), before in the very last contest she accounted for Lee Ho Ching (11-7, 11-6, 11-4) to clinch a quite dramatic 3-2 win. Earlier in the second match of the fixture Cheng I-Ching had overcome Lee Ho Ching (11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 13-11), before Hong Kong mounted a spirited recovery. Minnie Soo Wai Yam overcame Cheng Hsien-Tu (11-8, 3-11, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10), Doo Hoi Kem beat Cheng I-Ching (11-6, 11-5, 14-12) to set the scene for a pulsating finish.

Meanwhile, in the qualification group stage, the eventual goal being to secure one of the two places in the main draw, the leading outfits all enjoyed a successful day; first place and thus progress to the preliminary round stage was secured in the men’s event by DPR Korea, India, Iran and Thailand; in the women’s competition by Thailand, Singapore, India and Malaysia.

However, could there be a team lower down the order than may just ask questions and even cause an upset in the preliminary stage? Represented by Ali Alkhadrawi, Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi and Abdulaziz Alabbad, Saudi Arabia secured first place in their group, the crucial fixture being their first when they resisted a spirited challenge by the Philippines trio formed by Richard Gonzales, Jann Mari Nayre and John Misal.

Man of the moment, keeping his head and maintaining focus in the heat of the battle was Ali Alkhadrawi; in the second match of the contest he beat Jann Mari Nayre by the minimal two point margin in the fifth game (11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9), before in the vital fifth and deciding contest eventually overcoming the defensive skills Richard Gonzales in a very similar fashion to stifle the Philippine recovery (8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9).

On Monday 16th September, play will progress to the semi-final round in both the men’s team and women’s team events.

Editor: Ian Marshall

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