by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The coach in question, not a bad choice; compatriot Ryu Seungmin, the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Men’s Singles champion and now a member of International Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission.
It is the player who must perform but Ryu Seungmin does appear to have the magic touch; the previous day in the first round of the Men’s Singles event Jeoung Youngsik, trailed Jun Mizutani by two games to nil and three games to two, before securing a thrilling seven games success (7-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9).
“Yesterday I lost the first two games against Mizutani and recovered to win the match, today it was the same. Both matches were difficult and tense. Today, at the start I was playing very aggressively, attacking at every opportunity that didn’t work as it resulted in more errors from my side. After that, coach Ryu Seungmin, told me to calm down and attack less.”
Winning the fourth game was pivotal, it turned the tide in favour of Jeong Youngsik, who at the start of the sixth game hit a purple patch; the patch lasted uninterrupted for the first ten points.
Advice from one coach of high pedigree and in recent months, Jeoung Youngsik has been receiving advice from another name of legendary status. Jeoung Youngsik plays for Shanghai in the Chinese Super League alongside Xu Xin and Shang Kun. The coach is three time World champion, Wang Liqin!
“I think playing in the Chinese Super League is good practice for me. China has many good players and it’s hard to win there but I’ve improved a lot. After beating Mizutani yesterday, our coach Wang Liqin even messaged me to tell me that I played well.”
Not bad having Wang Liqin and Ryu Seungmin as your coaches!
One game of sublime quality; there were four from Ma Long, the top seed; seemingly settled to the Doha air, he played at a level above his first round encounter against Qatar’s Li Ping.
Ma Long won in four straight games (11-6, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5); imperious. At the semi-final stage Jeoung Youngsik meets Ma Long.
Two of the four semi-finalists decided in the Men’s Singles event; in the Under 21 Men’s Singles competition all four are known.
Furthermore, there was a fightback that upstaged Jeoung Youngsik. Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting recovered from a three games to nil deficit to beat Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit by the very narrowest of margins (4-11, 8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 13-11, 11-9).
Defeat for Hong Kong but the national association to suffer the most was Korea; Lim Jonghoon was beaten by Frenchman, Can Akkuzu (7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6, 12-1), Park Ganghyeon experienced defeat at the hands of Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa.
The win recorded by Mizuki Oikawa means that Japan is guaranteed a place in the Under 21 Men’s Singles final.
Liao Cheng-Ting meets Can Akkuzu in the semi-finals, whilst Mizuki Oikawa confronts Yuto Muramatsu; at the quarter-final stage, Yuto Muramatsu accounted for colleague, Tomokazu Harimoto, the player in the week crowned World Junior champion.
Notably, Yuto Muramatsu handed out a severe lesson; he won in four straight games (11-6, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5).
The semi-finals of the Under 21 Men’s Singles will be played on Saturday 10th December.