by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The no.7 seed, Lim Jonghoon beat Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting, the no.4 seed and the winner last December of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster Qatar 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.
Lim Jonghoon prevailed in four games (9-11, 11-4, 13-11, 11-6).
Victory for Lim Jonghoon was somewhat of a surprise but the Korean had every reason to be confident when he entered the arena; against Liao Cheng-Ting, he had won all four previous meetings in international competition.
In 2011, he had prevailed in both the Cadet Boys’ Team and Cadet Boys’ Singles event at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships; two years later he had repeated the success at the Korea Junior and Cadet Open, prior to winning again when the two met at the 2014 Asian Junior Championships.
“I was just thinking about the tactics and finding his weak point; I don´t really think about being the only remaining Korean. I am just focused on how to play against each opponent one at a time.” Lim Jonghoon
A semi-final place for Lim Jonghoon but not for his colleague, Cho Seungmin, the top seed; he was beaten by Asuka Sakai, the no.5 seed, in five games (11-9, 7-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-1).
Unexpected success for Asuka Sakai; the win recorded by Yuto Kizukuri, the no.8 seed, over Sweden’s Anton Källberg, the no.3 seed, likewise raised the eyebrows and underlined the progress made in recent years by the 17 year old left hander. In 2012 at the Polish Junior and Cadet Open, they had met in both the Cadet Boys’ Singles and Junior Boys’ Singles events, Anton Källberg had won on both occasions.
Three upsets, in the one remaining Under 21Men’s Singles quarter-final contest it was success as status advised; Mizuki Oikawa beat non-seeded colleague Fumiya Igarshi (11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 11-3).
At the semi-final stage Asuka Sakai plays Lim Jinghoon; Yuto Kizukuri meets Mizuki Oikawa.