by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It was another quite amazing performance against the player who owns no less than 26 ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles titles, more than any other on planet earth.
“He plays so well, especially for his age. I had some chances, I think but the guy has a lot of potential, definitely. I don’t see him as a little boy because I know he has already beaten very strong players in the past; he reached the quarter-finals of the World Championships, so you must regard him as a top player.” Vladimir Samsonov
“When I was two-three behind, I calmed myself down. He barely makes any mistakes so I had to play fiercely.” Tomokazu Harimoto
An outstanding performance from Tomokazu Harimoto rather overshadowed two further fine efforts that upset the status quo. Korea’s Kim Donghyun beat Frenchman, Simon Gauzy, the no.10 seed (9-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8), whilst at the same time in the closest match of the round, Egypt’s Omar Assar, defeated Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, the no.12 seed (11-1, 6-11, 11-6, 6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10).
Three surprises as the lower half of the draw progressed but not where the leading names were involved; notably China’s Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin emerged successful. Fan Zhendong, the no.2 seed, beat Japan’s Asuka Machi (11-6, 11-13, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3, 11-8); Xu Xin, the no.3 seed, accounted for Frenchman, Emmanuel Lebesson (11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-3).
“In the third game he attacked more aggressively, I made some unnecessary errors; however, when I was behind my mind-set was good.” Xu Xin
“Recently I have played such a lot of matches, so my preparation was not enough. I did not activate and excite myself as usual. In the second game I was doing well, I started to think I could win the game but I lost; perhaps it’s because my opponent played very well too. There was no problem with my tactics, but I have to be more concentrated during matches. I will take a good rest; now my priority is to restore energy and physical strength.” Fan Zhendong
Success for two celebrated names as play concluded in the opening round of the Men’s Singles event and there was success for two more; both overcoming Hong Kong adversaries.
Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.7 seed, beat Jiang Tianyi in seven games (11-8, 11-6, 15-17, 11-7, 10-12, 9-11, 11-4); rather more comfortably, Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.8 seed, ended the hopes of Ho Kwan Kit (11-7, 9-11, 16-14, 11-9, 11-9).
Play in the second round of the Men’s Singles event will be played to a conclusion on Friday 23rd June.