by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Most notable wins, Chen Chien-An is named at no.36 on the current Men’s World Rankings, Yuki Hirano, the younger brother of Sayaka Hirano but no relation to Miu Hirano, has not appeared internationally since the 2016 United States Open.
On that occasion he was beaten at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event by the wizardry of the Chinese defender Ho Yingchao (8-11, 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7). Thus some six months without an international appearance, he has no world ranking.
Meanwhile, Jeong Sangeun is named at no.37 in the global order, Andrea Landrieu, winner of the Cadet Boys’ Singles event at the 2011 European Youth Championships is at no.160.
Two surprise exits on their first visit to the table and there were plenty more in the Men’s Singles qualification tournament; Portugal being the nation to suffer.
Listed at no.184 on the current World Rankings, João Geraldo was beaten by Korea’s Park Jeongwoo, named at no.73 (13-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 16-14); João Monteiro who stands at no.114, lost to Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Hung-Chieh, presently at no.114 (6-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8).
Surprises but perhaps the fact that both Park Jeongwoo and Chiang Hung-Chieh had been required to compete in the opening round gave them a very slight advantage. Park Jeongwoo had beaten Singapore’s Pang Xue Jie (11-4, 12-10, 11-4, 11-4); Chiang Hung-Chieh had ousted Russia’s Anvar Imankadyrov (11-3, 11-2, 11-1, 12-10).
Similarly, that factor may well have been a reason for the success gained by Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck, listed at no.106 on the rankings. After overcoming Frenchman Joe Seyfried (9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4), he caused an upset of not by defeating Slovakia’s Wang Yang, named at no.61 (11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9).
Success against the odds for visitors to Tokyo, it was the same for the host nation.
No current World Ranking, Tonin Ryuzaki beat Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi, listed at no.56 (9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10), Kenta Tazoe, named at no.120 overcame Frenchman Tristan Flore, ranked no.50 (7-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8).
An exciting tournament beckons
Similarly, Jin Ueda ended the hopes of Lam Siu Hang, like Jiang Tianyi from Hong Kong (11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4); Kazuhiro Yoshimura caused Korea more heartache. He beat Jang Woojin (11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10). Currently on the Men’s World Rankings, Lam Siu Hang is at no.80, Jin Ueda at no.115; Kazuhiro Yoshimura stands at no.124, Jang Woojin at no.34.
Upsets as the top half of the Men’s Singles qualification tournament but for two players on which eyes were focused, there were no such problems.
Germany’s Bastian Steger, at no.33 the highest rated player in the Men’s Singles qualification tournament duly emerged successful in his opening encounter, he beat Belgium’s Robin Devos (13-11, 11-2, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10).
Likewise, 13 year old Tomokazu Harimoto, quarter-finalist at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships, overcame Sweden’s Jon Persson (14-12, 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 12-10).
Play in the qualification tournament concludes on Thursday 15th June.
Photos: courtesy of Japanese Table Tennis Association