by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
All three beat adversaries from the host nation; Anton Källberg accounted for Hwang Min (11-5, 11-5, 12-10, 11-5), whilst Cristian Pletea overcame Kang Jinho (9-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-4).
However, pride of place goes to Hunor Szocs, he accounted for Seo Hyundeok, a player who between 2009 and 2011 won six ITTF World Tour Under 21 Men’s Singles titles.
Left handed, he oozes talent but if a world ranking list of unpredictability was produced; he would be clear at the very top.
At the Volkswagen 2011 ITTF World Tour China Open, he beat Zhang Jike; the win coming just one month after the Chinese star had been crowned World champion in Rotterdam.
Conversely, some two years earlier, in 2009 on the ITTF World Tour in Poland; he led Shang Kun, like Zhang Jike from China, 10-3 in the deciding game of the Under 21 Men’s Singles final. He lost the next nine points! Such is Seo Hyundeok!
Most certainly Seo Hyundeok was a player to watch; you never know what might happen. However, the Korean on whom eyes were prominently focused in the first round of the Men’s Singles qualification event was that of Jeong Sangeun, the young man who had beaten Ma Long in the third round at the recent Seamaster 2017 Asian Championships in Wuxi and had progressed to reach the final.
Jeong Sangeun duly delivered; in his opening qualification contest, he accounted for Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa (11-5, 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8).
Success for Jeong Sangeun, the 2007 World Junior champion but for another who has enjoyed a podium finish on the big stage, it was defeat. Kim Kyungah, bronze medallist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games was beaten in the opening round of the Women’s Singles tournament by Japan’s Minami Ando (11-9, 11-9, 11-9, 11-13, 11-2).
Defeat for Kim Kyungah against a Japanese visitor; she was not alone.
An Soyeon was beaten by Rika Suzuki (11-8, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9), Lee Hyunju suffered against Ayami Narumoto (11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 11-4, 12-10), whilst any ambitions harboured by Kim Byeolnim were ended by Yuka Minagawa (11-7, 11-8, 11-13, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7).
Play in the qualification tournament concludes on Wednesday 19th April.