by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Austria’s Andreas Levenko and the host nation’s Takuya Jin were the players to raise the eyebrows.
Winner on the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit in Sweden and listed at no.213 on the current Men’s World Ranking list, Andreas Levenko accounted for Turkey’s Ahmet Li, named at no.89 (4-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9).
An impressive display by Andreas Levenko, it was even more impressive from Takuya Jin.
Runner up in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event on home soil in Kobe in 2010 and later in 2013 in Poland but owing to an absence from the international scene in recent times and thus with no world ranking, Takuya Jin belied his status. He accounted for Singapore’s Gao Ning, in four straight games (12-10, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6). Presently Gao Ning is listed at no.43 on the Men’s World rankings.
Otherwise for the leading names it was success but for two Germans it was a very close call; both Ruwen Filus and Patrick Franziska needed the full seven games to ensure success. Eventually, Ruwen Filus overcame Japan’s Asuka Sakai (9-11, 11-9, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8), whilst in an even closer finish, Patrick Franziska defeated Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting (7-11, 12-10, 11-8, 10-12, 3-11, 12-10, 13-11).
Meanwhile, for the highly rated players there was less drama. China’s Lin Gaoyuan who like Ruwen Filus had reached the fourth round of the Men’s Singles event at the recent Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf, recorded an imposing win. He beat Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju (9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8).
Similarly, Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson and Japan’s Yuto Muramatsu, the respective second and third highest rated players on initial stage Men’s Singles results, emerged successful.
Mattias Karlsson beat Chinese Taipei’s Yang Tzu-Yi (11-3, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4), Yuto Muramatsu ended the hopes of Russia’s Viachaslev Burov (11-5, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6).
Photos: courtesy of Japan Table Tennis Association