by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Yuto Muramatsu beat the man who won his first such title 20 years ago in early November 1996 in Italy and then won 26 more to become currently the most successful of all time
The no.10 seed, Yuto Muramatsu, combined defence with attack to beat Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.6 seed (11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 6-11, 1-11, 11-9, 11-6).
“Samsonov is a great player, it is difficult to read his service and he is so very consistent; he just does not make mistakes; I tried to balance my play today, attacking as much as I defended in order to keep changing the rhythm of the match”, Yuto Muramatsu
Success against expectations was followed by wins according to expectations before Jeoung Youngsik entered the arena
China’s Ma Long, the top seed, not at a fluent best, overcame a spirited effort by the Qatar’s Li Ping (4-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-3), whilst at the same time in the adjacent hall in a somewhat closer contest, Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.7 seed, overcame Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira, the no.9 seed. Wong Chun Ting secured victory in seven games (6-11, 12-14, 11-8, 13-11, 11-9, 14-16, 11-8).
Defeat for Japan but as the day closed there was success; Jeoung Youngsik, the no.10 seed, recovered from a two game to nil deficit to beat to beat Japan’s Jun Mizutani, the no.5 seed and twice the winner of the covered title.
Advised by compatriot Ryu Seungmin, the Athens 2004 Olympic champion; Jeong Youngsik emerged successful by the very narrowest of margins in a full distance seven games encounter (7-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9).
Notably it was his second such close encounter of the day. Earlier partnering Lee Sangsu in the Men’s Doubles event, the no.2 seeds, they had accounted for Japan’s Koki Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura, the no.7 seeds, in an arguably even closer encounter (11-6, 4-11, 10-12, 16-14, 14-12, 9-11, 16-14).
I was nervous before the match, I thought that would lose, I was more sure I would lose after the second game when I was two-nil down. I thought to myself I lose it’s no problem, I started to play more relaxed. In the first two games I play too much towards his forehand; it’s really very difficult to block Jun’s forehand topspin. My coach Ryu Seungmin told me to concentrate on his backhand. Two matches today both won narrowly in seven games, a good day”, Jeoung Youngsik
Two surprises as the Men’s Singles event commenced, conversely in the two Women’s Doubles matches contested on the opening day of play, it was success as status advised.
Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the top seeds, beat Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, the no.8 seeds (11-6, 11-4, 12-10, 11-6); similarly in a comprehensive manner, Honoka Hashimoto and Hina Hayata, the no.2 seeds, accounted for the Germany’s Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja, the no.6 seeds (12-10, 11-6, 15-13, 11-7).
The opening round of all events will be completed on Friday 9th December.
The first day of action at the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals