by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Asuka Machi beat Sun Chia-Hung, like Tsai Chun-Yu from Chinese Taipei (6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-8, 11-4) presently listed at no.181 on the world ranking list.
Meanwhile, Tsai Chun-Yu overcame Aliaksandr Khanin (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 11-3); Yang Heng-Wei ended the hopes of Gleb Shamruk (11-9, 14-12, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9). Presently in the global order Aliaksandr Khanin is at no.218, Yang Heng-Wei at no.189 and Gleb Shamruk at no.349.
Surprise wins for Asuka Machi and Tsai Chun-Yu; perhaps not both have considerable international experience and neither is a stranger to Chengdu. The most recent occasion when Tsai Chun-Yu appeared on the international scene was in Chengdu last September at the SheSays 2016 ITTF World Tour China Open; notably he reached the semi-final stage of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event losing to Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit.
A none month absence from the international scene, the SheSays 2016 ITTF World Tour China Open having been staged last September; it is even a longer absence for Asuka Machi, his most recent appearance was one year ago at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Laox Japan Open in Tokyo.
However, he does have a liking for Chengdu; it was in the Chinese city that he won his one and only Under 21 Men’s Singles title on the ITTF World Tour. In 2014 he beat Singapore’s Chen Feng in the final to claim the top prize; later in the year, he repeated the success, he won the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the GAC Group ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Bangkok, he beat Korea’s Jang Woojin in the final.
Conversely, Yang Hang-Wei was on duty last week at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum Lion Japan Open. Similarly in Tokyo he enjoyed an opening success; he beat Australia’s Wade Townsend before losing in the second preliminary round to the host nation’s Masaki Yoshida.
In Chengdu an equally tough adversary awaits; in round two he faces Canada’s Eugene Wang.