by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Runners up at the 2014 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open, Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson accounted for Japan’s Koki Niwa and Yuya Oshima, the no.2 seeds (11-8, 14-12, 6-11, 11-8); the win coming after Andrieu Landrieu and Romain Lorentz had beaten Belgium’s Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck, the no.5 seeds and winners in the Philippines in 2015.
Impressively, the French pair won in three straight games (11-9, 11-9, 11-7).
“The first game we led 7-2, we made so many mistakes but we saved the game. Afterwards we played better and better. The key of the match was the second game; we won 14-12 and led two-nil. After that we were more relaxed and a little more confident. It’s a new pair for them. They both are very good players but they have never played together, so for us it was an advantage. Eventually, we played without making too many mistakes. We are very happy to enter the quarter-final.” Emmanuel Lebesson
Two upsets and there were two more; this time both in favour of Japan. Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri overcame the combination formed by Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.4 seeds and winners last year in Austria. Soon after Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura recovered from a two games to nil deficit to end the hopes of Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi and Lam Siu Hang, the no.7 seeds (8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-7).
Four upsets in the opening round of the Men’s Doubles event; conversely there were four successes as anticipated. Most notably China’s Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the top seeds, beat Korea’s Kim Minseok and Lim Jonghoon (11-5, 10-12, 11-2, 11-2); colleagues Ma Long and Zhang Jike accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Huang Chien-Tu and Wang Tai-Wei (11-5, 14-12, 11-4).
Meanwhile, in the two remaining opening round contests, there was success for Hong Kong and for Sweden; for the former Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, the no.6 seeds, beat Korea’s Kim Donghyun and Park Jeongwoo (11-4, 11-9, 11-6), for the latter, Kristian Karlsson and Jon Persson emerged successful. They ended the hopes of Chinese Taipei’s Hung Tzu-Hsiang and Yang Heng-Wei (11-7, 11-8, 11-3).
At the quarter-final stage Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin meet Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting; Andrea Landrieu and Romain Lorentz confront Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri. In the opposite half of the draw it is Ma Long and Zhang Jike versus Kristian Karlsson and Jon Persson; Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson in opposition to Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura.
The quarter-final and semi-final matches in the Men’s Doubles event will be played on Friday 23rd June.