by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, the top seeds and winners at the 2015 Grand Finals in Lisbon, departed at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s Hung Tzu-Hsiang and Yang Heng-Wei (11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9).
At the same time it was farewell for Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson, the no.7 seeds and silver medallists at the 2012 European Championships in Herning. They were beaten by Singapore’s Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie (4-11, 17-15, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9).
Likewise, Germany’s Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther, the no.5 seeds, lost to Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri and Masaki Takami (10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8); Koki Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura, the no.4 seeds, experienced defeat as Japan endured mixed fortunes and Korea progressed. They were beaten by the host nation’s Jang Woojin and Jeong Sangeun (5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6).
The end result; in the top half of the draw, all four seeded pairs fell in the opening round with European partnerships enduring pain. In the top half of the draw in the round of the last eight pairs, it is Hung Tzu-Hsiang and Yang Heng-Wei versus Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie; Yuto Kizukuri and Masaki Takami versus Jang Woojin and Jeong Sangeun.
However, for the old continent in the lower half of the draw it was somewhat different; Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Hunor Szocs upset the order of merit to beat Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chiang Hung-Chieh, the no.6 seeds (6-11, 18-16, 11-7, 11-9).
At the quarter-final stage the Romanians meet Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth; the opening round winners in opposition to the combination of Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Sweden’s Anton Källberg (11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5).
A semi-final place guaranteed for a European partnership; whatever the outcome they will meet a Korean combination in the last four. In the same half of the draw Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu meet Kim Minseok and Seo Hyundeok.
In the opening round Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu beat Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting and Wang Tai-Wei (11-5, 11-7, 11-7); Kim Minseok and Seo Hyundeok overcame Germany’s Benedikt Duda and Steffen Mengel (11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5).