by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Chen Xingtong and Shang Kun emerged as the players to cause the biggest upsets.
At the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event, Chen Xingtong, the no.14 seed, overcame colleague Chen Meng, the top seed in a tension packed duel; the 19 year old emerging successful by the very narrowest of seven games margins (12-14, 15-13, 2-11, 11-13, 11-8, 12-10, 13-11).
Success against the top seed, in the penultimate round it was success against the no.11 seed; Chen Xingtong overcame Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin in four straight games (12-10, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2).
Wins against higher seeded players; in the opposed half of the draw it was the counterpart scenario for Wen Jia, the no.10 seed. In the round of the last eight she overcame the defensive skills of Tetyana Bilenko, the no.13 seed (14-16, 11-7, 8-11, 11-3, 11-1, 11-6), before by a similar margin defeating colleague and qualifier Li Jiayi (12-10, 11-7, 11-4, 14-16 5-11, 11-3).
Notably, one round earlier, Li Jiayi had ended the hopes of the host nation; at the quarter-final stage she had ousted Georgina Pota, the no.5 seed (6-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9, 11-3).
A notable success for Chen Xingtong, beating the top seed Chen Meng in the quarter-finals; for Shang Kung the win in the round of the last eight was also against the top seed and is one that he will always treasure.
He beat a boyhood hero; he accounted for Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus in six games (7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8) to reserve his place in the semi-finals; where facing colleague, Lin Gaoyuan, he recovered from a three games to one deficit to secure his place in the title deciding match (7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4).
In the final, Shang Kun plays colleague, Yan An, a player in outstanding form. At the quarter-final stage he beat Fang Bo, the no.3 seed and also from China in four straight games (11-6, 11-3, 11-5, 11-1), before administering similar punishment to Germany’s Ruwen Filus one round later (11-8, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7).
A total of eight games, Yan An surrendered just 40 points.
However that was not the record breaking feat of the day; all four semi-finalists in the Men’s Singles had been required to compete in the qualification tournament earlier in the week.
It is the first time in the history of the ITTF World Tour, since the first ball was hit in anger on Wednesday 3rd April 1996 in the English market town of Kettering, a total of now 313 tournaments that no seeded players has appeared in a Men’s Singles semi-final!