by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Impressively, Lam Sui Hang maintained his focus to withstand a spirited recovery from Lin Gaoyuan after securing the opening two games; a six games win was the order of the day (11-8, 11-3, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9)
“I felt mentally strong and executed my tactics; Lin Gaoyuan looked nervous and he didn’t take his chances. I was in good form. In the fifth game my coach reminded me I should be determined, not conservative. Before the match began, I watched videos of him playing to get to know his technical features.” Lam Siu Hang
A surprise result, it was not the only upset in the round that determined who should gain a main draw place. Japan’s Tonin Ryuzaki and Jin Ueda alongside Korea’s Kim Donghyun, Frenchman Antoine Hachard and Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck, also caused upsets of note.
The biggest upset, a good question but let’s give preference to Antoine Hachard. Listed at no.123 on the current Men’s World Rankings, he beat Korea’s Jang Woojin, named at no.34 (7-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-8, 15-13).
Alternatively maybe the vote should be given to Kim Donghyun, Cédric Nuytinck or Tonin Ryuzaki. Presently named at no.127 of the Men’s World Rankings and in recent time not selected for major events, Kim Donghyun gave the selectors a reminder that he should not be overlooked. He beat Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura (11-13, 11-5, 11-1, 11-7, 11-5), the highest rated player in the qualification tournament.
Equally, named at no.106 on the current listings, Cédric Nuytinck beat Austria’s Robert Gardos, listed at no.49 (11-9, 11-9, 12-14, 10-12, 12-10, 12-10), whilst not be upstaged Tonin Ryuzaki defeat Singapore’s Gao Ning (11-8, 13-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7). Presently, Tonin Ryuzaki has no world ranking, Gao Ning is at no.40.
Oustanding performances and they somewhat overshadowed the efforts of Japan’s Jin Ueda, Kenta Tazoe and Asuka Machi.
Jin Ueda, ranked no.80, beat Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, named at no.27 (6-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 13-11), whilst Asuka Machi and Kenta Tazoe both continued their good form to reserve main draw places.
Both ended the hopes of colleagues; Kenta Tazoe overcame Yuki Matsuyama (11-9, 11-9, 13-15, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7), Asuka Machi defeated Takuya Jin (7-11, 15-13, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7).
Surprises with three of the top four names in the qualification stage in the guise of Maharu Yoshimura, Jang Woojin and Lin Gaoyuan departing; for the one further prominent name it was success.
Frenchman, Emmanuel Lebesson accounted for Canada’s Eugene Wang but it was close; he needed the full seven games (11-6, 9-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-13, 15-13, 11-8).
Play in the main draw commences on Thursday 22nd June.