04 Aug 2017

Defending champions, the host nation’s Kang Wi Hun and Kim Song I, both made successful starts in their quest to retain the titles secured on home soil one year ago; on the opening day of play, Wednesday 2nd August, at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Pyongyang Open, it was one match played, one victory secured.

Furthermore, both made impressive starts.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In the group qualification phase of the Men’s Singles event, Kang Wi Hun, the no.3 seed, beat colleague Ro Hyon Song (11-5, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9); similarly at the same stage of the Women’s Singles event, Kim Song I, the top seed, likewise enjoyed success against a colleague. She overcame Kim Sol Song (11-3, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9).

Meanwhile, in both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events, a competition which in each instance witnessed four groups in the first stage of proceedings with players finishing in first and second positions advancing to the quarter-finals, there were successes for the host nation.

Top seed, Pak Sin Hyok was not required to raise his racket in anger; he received a walk-over against injured colleague, An Ji Song.

Success for the leading name on duty but not for the next in the order of merit; Ro Kwang Jin was beaten by Kim Jin Su (2-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 13-11).

Defeat for Ro Kwang Jin but no such misfortune for Choe Il, the no.4 seed and the winner in 2015; he accounted for Min Jin Song (11-3, 11-1, 11-5, 11-4) in his one and only contest of the day.

Problems for one of the top four names in the first stage of the Men’s Singles event, in the counterpart Women’s Singles competition two notable names suffered. In all DPR Korea duels, Cho Hyon Hwa, the no.2 seed, lost to Kim Jin Hyng (11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8); Ri Mi Gyong, the no.3 was beaten by Kim Nan Hae (11-9, 1-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9); Choe Hyon Hwa

A surprise outcome but there were no surprises for the other two leading names. In addition to Kim Song I, Cha Hyo Sim, the no.4 seed, accounted for Ko Un Gum (11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6).

The one other player to remain unbeaten; in the same group as Cha Hyo Sim and Ko Un Gum was Jong Un Ju; she accounted for Ri Hyon Sim (8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-3, 11-7).

Play in the initial stage of both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events concludes on Thursday 3rd August.

 Opening Ceremony: Hang Seng Hong Kong Junior and Cadet Open
Photos: Ri Myong Song

Challenge Series 2017 DPR Korea Open DPR Korea

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