17 Nov 2016

Against expectations, on Thursday 17th November, there had been opening round successes in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open in Stockholm for Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, the host nation’s Carl Ahlander-Johansson and Chinese Taipei’s Sun Chia-Hung, all players who had been required to compete in the qualification stage.

One round and some six hours later that success continued as the quarter-final stage was reached; notably, not one of the top four seeds remained.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The first round witnessed defeats for Portugal’s João Geraldo, the top seed, Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa, the no.3 seed and England’s Sam Walker, the no.4 seed.

In the second round, Sweden’s Anton Källberg, the no.2 seed, bid farewell; he was beaten in four games by Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic, the no.10 seed (11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-6).

A fine effort from Darko Jorgic but was his win a greater surprise than those achieved by the three qualifiers?

Brian Afanador emerged successful against Clarence Chew, the no.16 seed, in five games (4-11, 11-8, 15-13, 6-11, 11-6), a young man on whom Singapore harbours great hopes, as they plan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Victory by a narrow margin for the 19 year from the town of Utuado where table tennis rules above all other sports, it was an even closer success for Carl Ahlander-Johansson.

Urged forward by the locals sitting nervously in the tiered seating, he overcame Chinese Taipei’s Lee Chia-Sheng, the no.12 seed, by the very narrowest of margins (11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 12-10).

Defeat for Chinese Taipei but there were two successes; in addition to Sun Chia-Hung causing an upset by beating Hungary’s Adam Szudi (8-11, 14-12, 12-10, 11-7), Liao Cheng-Ting, the no.9 seed, ended the progress of French qualifier Enzo Angles (10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 3-11, 11-5).

Furthermore, there were successes for two players who have very much an eye on qualifying for the Seamaster, Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.

Korea’s Park Ganghyeon, the no.5 seed and at no.8 (362 points) on the Under 21 Men’s Singles Standings, beat Thailand’s Padasak Tanviriyavechakul, the no.11 seed (11-9, 11-4, 11-9); Frenchman Can Akkuzu, the no.6 seed, halted the adventures of Slovenian qualifier, Deni Kozul (12-10, 11-5, 6-11, 4-11, 11-7).

Prior to the start of play in Stockholm, Can Akkuzu was listed at no.9 (354 points) on the Standings.

Meanwhile, in the one further contest in the second round of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event, it was success for Japan; Kenta Tazoe, the no.7 seed, beat Belgium’s Florent Lambiet, the no.14 seed (11-7, 11-7, 11-3).

At the quarter-final stage Liao Cheng-Ting meets Park Ganghyeon; Can Akkuzu opposes Carl Ahlander-Johansson. In the opposite half of the draw, Sun Chia-Hung faces Brian Afanador, Kenta Tazoe plays Darko Jorgic.

The quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event will be played on Friday 18th November.

World Tour Swedish Open Darko Jorgic Brian Afanador Sun Chia-Hung Carl Ahlander-Johansson

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