by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
He overcame Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.8 seed and winner in Doha in 2003 and in 2015. Mattias Karlsson recovered from a two games to nil deficit to record a six games success (8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9).
“Against Vladi you have to be one hundred percent with your first ball. He changes the service all the time, sometimes short, sometimes half long. You must be alert, you must receive service well and you must take your chances. I lost the first two games, in the second game I was 10-4 ahead, I came back to 10-10 and then lost. After that I played better and my play improved as the match progressed”, Mattias Karlsson
Defeat for Vladimir Samsonov but he was not the only casualty as matters came to a conclusion in the lower half of the Men’s Singles draw.
Three further seeds departed. Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik, the no.9 seed, was beaten by Japan’s Masaki Yoshida (7-11, 17-15, 11-2, 11-8, 11-9); whilst Qatar’s Ahmad Al-Mohannadi, the no.16 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of Spain’s Alvaro Robles (11-1, 11-1, 11-6, 11-2).
Clear cut decisions, the departure of the 14th seed, Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira concluded with an air of controversy. China’s Liang Jingkun emerged successful by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game (11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 13-11) but did the last forehand from Liang Jingkun after an exhilarating rally hit the edge or the side? The umpire decided edge but it was mighty close.
Meanwhile as play concluded in the lower half of the draw; the other leading names emerged successful.
China’s Fan Zhendong, the no.2 seed, beat Japan’s Yuya Oshima (11-5, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4); whilst compatriot, Xu Xin, the no.3 seed, ended the hopes of Frenchman, Abdel-Kader Salifou (11-8, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6).
Likewise there were only minimal problems for Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.6 seed; he accounted for Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi (11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6).
The second round of the Men’s Singles event will be played on Friday 24th February.