by Wade Townsend
It’s an evenly matched field in the Men’s Singles event at the ITTF Challenge Thailand Open and it promises to be a tight race to final.
India has the most players in action, and perhaps a solid contingent with sheer numbers will see them progress deep in to the draw.
However if recent performances are to go by then Sun Chia-Hung (TPE) is in the man in form. Less than two weeks ago he was in the semi-final of Belgosstrakh Belarus Open, only going down to eventually winner Vladimir Samsonov. There is no reason to suspect he want repeat his performance here in Bangkok.
Meanwhile Japan’s Jin Ueda is fresh off the back of winning the Japan Top 12, where he was able defeat Jun Mizutani in the group stage. With domestic success he will now be looking for some international wins to start knocking on the door of the national team.
If you are looking for a wild card then the South Korean defender Kang Dongsoo will be one to watch. We haven’t seen him in action on the international stage since 2015, but with wins such as Wong Chun Ting to his name he isn’t to be taken lightly. Kang also had the unique priveledge of defeating Jorgen Persson in his last international appearance. After negotiating his way out of the group stage, he already has a couple of matches under his belt and will have an advantage over his opponents going in cold.
Top seed Gao Ning (SGP) will be looking to get some rhythm early on. The Singapore veteran only competed in doubles at Hungarian Open, while his recent appearance in the qualifications for the Qatar Open saw him lose 4-1 to Kim Minseok. If he can survive his opening encounters he definitely will be looking at a deep run.
It will be up to Yanapong Panagitgun and Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon to keep the flag flying for Thailand, while it will be down to Gavin Rumgay (SCO) and Daniel Memmi (SUI) to keep Europe’s hopes alive.
Men’s singles matches get underway today at 14:20 (GMT+7) local time. Checkout the full Men’s Singles draw here.