02 Apr 2017

Hopes high but at the semi-final stage of the Men’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Thailand Open in Bangkok on Sunday 2nd April, Korean aspirations came to an end.

Kang Dongsoo, who had been required to compete in the qualification tournament, was beaten by Singapore’s Gao Ning, the top seed (11-8, 11-5, 15-13, 11-9); Park Jeongwoo, the no.13 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of Japan’s Jin Ueda, the no.3 seed (11-5, 6-11, 11-2, 11-8, 10-12, 10-12, 11-7).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Defeat for the Korean duo but there was consolation in the fact that they had reached heights previously attained.

Experience told in the contest between the attacking attributes of Gao Ning and the backspin skills of Kang Dongsoo.

The policy of the Singaporean against backspin play is somewhere between two extremes. There is the technique so successfully employed by Spain’s He Zhiwen, short pimpled rubber just keep returning the ball on the table with minimal top spin time and time again, wait for the chance to drive the ball with even less top spin and smile.

Conversely, there is the style of Japan’s Kiyonobu Iwasaki, who some two decades ago just kept blasting forehand top spins, resorting the opponent to fielding practice; China’s Xu Xin is now even more severe in the skill.

Gao Ning does not have the power of Xu Xin and in style is totally different to He Zhiwen; he is consistent and varies the play. However, whoever his opponent, above else you never see him panic; there are no histrionics. Against the defensive art that facet is crucial. It proved crucial in opposition to Kang Dongsoo.

Meanwhile, for Jin Ueda there was also the need to remain calm and not panic against a Korean adversary of a different nature; the fast attacking top spin style of Park Jeongwoo.

Jun Ueda held a three games to one lead, in both the fifth and sixth games he had chances, losing both by the minimal two point margin; to his credit he withstood the recovery and dispelled the disappointment to win the seventh game.

It was the first time that Gao Ning had face Kang Dongsoo on the international scene; for Jin Ueda it was a second confrontation with Park Jeongwoo. In 2012 they had met in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event on the ITTF World Tour in Korea; on that occasion Jin Ueda had won in straight games (11-6, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7).

In Bangkok it was more testing; much more testing.

Challenge Series 2017 ITTF Challenge - Thailand Jin Ueda Gao Ning Park Jeongwoo Kang Dongsoo

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