19 Jan 2017

Winner of the Men’s Singles title in Sweden in 2013, desperate to prove himself, Yan An could hardly have faced a more daunting challenge than that experienced in the Men’s Singles qualification stage second preliminary round at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF Hungarian Open in Budapest on Wednesday 18th January.

He faced his Chinese national team compatriot, Liang Jingkun, a player against whom he had experienced defeat in two of their three meetings in the 2016 Chinese Super League; a competition in which Liang Jinkun had excelled. Liang Jingkun had finished in fourth place in the averages behind the redoubtable trio of Xu Xin, Ma Long and Fan Zhendong.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In Budapest, Yan An balanced the books; he beat Liang Jingkun in seven games (14-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-1, 1-11, 13-15, 11-7).

Success and a place in the main draw for Yan An; it was the same for his colleagues Shang Kun and Lin Gaoyuan.

Shang Kun overcame Frenchman Andrea Landrieu (11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9), whilst Lin Gaoyuan accounted a familiar adversary. He accounted for the Dominican Republic’s Wu Jiaji (11-5, 11-8, 12-10, 11-2), the player he had beaten when both members of the Chinese national team, at the semi-final stage of the Boys’ Singles event at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Bratislava.

“My feeling and movement are getting better I am now less tired from jet leg. I’m  getting used to competition, the atmosphere”, Shang Kun after beating Andrea Landrieu

Notable performances and there were more of note that attracted the attention.

Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi, the winner in Hungary in 2015, ended the hopes of India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta, the winner in Cairo five years earlier (11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 8-11, 11-3).

Similarly, the Czech Republic’s Tomas Konecny, who had won last year in Bulgaria, also emerged successful; in a full distance seven games duel decided by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game, he overcame Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar (5-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 12-10, 8-11, 12-10).

A close call for Tomas Konecny, it was the same for the Czech Republic’s Jiri Vrablic as it was for German duo of Steffen Mengel and Wang Xi.  Jiri Vrablic accounted for Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck in a tense seven games duel (10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 5-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-4). Meanwhile, Steffen Mengel overcame Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko in seven games (6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5); a similar score-line by which Wang Xi ended the hopes of Frenchman, Enzo Angles (9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7).

“I had played him before a year ago in Poland and beat him four one. I knew I had a chance today. I played well and used the strategy that I’d already planned”, Jiri Vrablik after overcoming Cédric Nuytinck

Defeat for France but there was victory, Quentin Robinot accounted for Portugal’s João Geraldo in five games (11-3, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5), a performance that was matched by England’s Liam Pitchford and Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic, the top two names on Men’s Singles qualification stage duty.

“I was able to dominate the short game and controlled the start of the points really well. My overall control of the game was really good; I could play with very precise strokes. I felt physically and mentally strong, ready for the match”, Quentin Robinot after defeating João Geraldo

Liam Pitchford beat Sweden’s Jon Persson (7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6), Bojan  Tokic ended the aspirations of Mexico’s Marcos Madrid (11-9, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5).

“I made a nervous start but then I settled in a rhythm. I had already decided my tactics against him I think I was in control of the match at all times. Now I am happy to have made the main draw; the show must go on”, Liam Pitchford after beating Jon Persson

Play in the main draw commences on Thursday 19th January.

Yan An versus Liang Jingkun

World Tour 2017 Hungarian Open Liang Jingkun Yan An

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