by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It goes without saying that Vladimir Samsonov, the no.9 seed, has the experience but it is his first match of the tournament, whilst Tomokazu Harimoto is warmed to the challenge.
An intriguing contest and it is one of many. Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang, who beat China’s Lin Gaoyuan in the last round of the qualification tournament, meets Japan’s Yuya Oshima, the no.14 seed; Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck, the winner over Austria’s Robert Gardos, also meets a Japanese adversary. He confronts Kenta Matsudaira, the no.11 seed.
Similarly, Korea’s Lim Jonghoon plays Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.6 seed; Egypt’s Omar Assar opposes Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, the no.12 seed. Equally intriguing, Korea’s Kim Donghyun who accounted for Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura, plays Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no.10 seed.
Meanwhile, in the counterpart Women’s Singles event, the host nation’s Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling enter the arena as does Singapore’s Feng Tianwei.
Notably Feng Tianwei meets the host nation’s 20 year old Zhang Rui, a player who excelled in the qualification tournament.
However, no doubt the focus of attention will be on those born in 2000.
China’s Sun Yingsha, the winner last week in Tokyo meets Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.11 seed; Mima Ito, the no.9 seed, plays Singapore’s Zhou Yihan. Similarly, Miu Hirano, the no.7 seed, confronts Jiang Huajun, also from Hong Kong; Hina Hayata, the no.13 seed, opposes Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu.
The opening round of both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events will be played to a completion on Thursday 22nd June.