By Neha Aggarwal
Here is a snapshot of the highs and lows of the day.
Star of the day: Tomokazu Harimoto
He was born the same year his opponent was crowned the European Champion. Age is no bar in table tennis, Tomokazu Harimoto personifies this fact. He beat the 41 year old Vladimir Samsonov in a nail-biting seven games thriller (11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8).
Heartbreaking moment of the day: Zhang Jike’s departure
Battling injuries for a long time, Zhang Jike was forced to pull out of the tournament while competing in the Men’s Singles opening round match against Japan’s Masaki Yoshida. A nagging hip injury saw the crowd favourite depart. It left his fans in tears.
Survivor of the day: Chen Meng
Down two-nil against Korean defender Suh Hyowon, China’s Chen Meng, ranked no.5 in the world survived a scare. She came back to win in six games (8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 15-13, 12-10), the last two games decided by the minimal two point margin, signifying the unpredictability of table tennis. The match could have gone in any direction, but Chen Meng came out stronger than her world no.29 opponent and marched forward to round two.
Upset of the day: Sakura Mori beat Han Ying
World no.34 Sakura Mori, the winner of the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open, caused the biggest upset in terms of ranking. She beat world no.9 Han Ying of Germany in a nervous four-two win (4-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9). Han Ying is currently the highest ranked defender in the world and has been most consistent in her recent performances.
There were more highlights of the day that caught everyone’s attention.
Timo Boll survives
Losing in the opening round a week earlier in Japan, Timo Boll seemed relieved today in Chengdu as he moved to round two beating Hong Jong’s Jiang Tianyi in one of the most thrilling matches played on day one. He won in seven games (11-8,11-6, 15-17, 11-7, 10-12, 9-11, 11-4).
No hiccups for Women’s Singles top seeds
Seven out of the top eight seeds in the Women’s Singles marched to round two in a relatively smooth manner. Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen, Zhu Yuling and Kasumi Ishikawa won their first round matches with impressive four-nil wins, Third seed Feng Tianwei and eighth seed Miu Hirano dropped one game each.
Ding Ning interview:
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