Yang Zi tested by Nima Alamian
Photo By: An Sung Ho
GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour, Harmony China Open
The principal players in both the qualification stage of the Menís and Womenís Singles event at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Harmony China Open ended the opening day, Wednesday 22nd August 2012, with aspirations of places in the main draw very much a reality.
In the Menís Singles event, the top eight names were all required to pay one visit to the table; all emerged victorious with only Yang Zi, the highest World ranked player in action being severely tested.
He needed the full seven games to beat 19 year old Nima Alamian,(7-11, 16-14, 11-6, 10-12, 11-5, 10-12, 11-7); the rapidly improving Iranian, trading blow for blow against the more experienced Singaporean.
Otherwise, it was a relatively comfortable path for the other principal names in action.
Yang Ziís colleague Li Hu emerged successful as did Chinese Taipeiís Chen Chien-An in addition to the Korean quintet of Kim Minseok, Jung Youngsik, Yoon Jaeyoung, Jeong Sangeun and Cho Eonrae.
Only One Suffered Defeat
Similarly, in the first phase of the Womenís Singles event; the only one of the top eight names to suffer a defeat was Hong Kongís Ng Wing Nam.
She was beaten in her opening contest by Portugalís Shao Jieni (8-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9), before recovering to overcome Wu Yue of the United States (11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10).
Door Still Open
The win means that Ng Wing Nam keeps the possibility of a place in the main draw a possibility.
In the Menís Singles event only the players finishing in first place in the group progress to the main draw; in the Womenís Singles event the winner of the group advances to the main draw with the runner up progressing to a preliminary round.
Koreaís Yoon Sunrae, Song Maeum and Park Yoongsook remained unbeaten, as did Chinaís Zhou Yan and Polandís Natalia Partyka, in addition to the Japanese duo of Yuki Nonaka and Saki Tashiro.
However, for Saki Tashiro it was an exacting day; she needed six games to beat Chinese Taipeiís Lee Chun-Hui (11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-) and the full seven games to overcome Koreaís Lee Hyun (14-12, 6-11, 11-6, 3-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-9).
Polish Travails Continue
Success for the leading names as predicted but there were upsets lower down the order.
Defeat in her opening match against Korea Kim Eunji (13-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8, 12-10), Polandís Katarzyna Grzybowska then lost to Chinese Taipeiís Hsu Hui-Tsun (11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 11-13, 11-8).
Katarzyna Grzybowska is currently listed at no.121 on the Womenís World Rankings as opposed to Kim Eunji who has no World status and Hsu Hui-Tsun who is named at no.285.
Problems for Chinese Taipei and Russia
Meanwhile, in the Menís Singles competition, Chinese Taipeiís Huang Sheng-Sheng and Russiaís Mikhail Paykov both experienced unexpected defeats.
Huang Sheng-Sheng, listed at no.109 on the Menís World Rankings, after beating Englandís Liam McTiernan (11-9, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6) lost to Koreaís Cheon Minhyuck (12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7); currently named at no.636 on the Menís World Rankings.
One defeat for Huang Sheng-Sheng, the news for Mikhail Paykov was ever worse; currently occupying the no.147 spot on the Menís World Rankings, he was beaten by two players, presently with no World ranking.
He was suffered against Chinese Taipeiís Chou Tung-Yu (6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6, 12-10) and Japanís Yuichi Tokiyoshi (6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9).