by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A last eight place against expectations, he was not alone; the host nation’s Tomas Polansky also upset the odds.
In a current rich vein of form having reached the final the previous week in Bulgaria when eventually beaten by Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa; occupying the no.9 seeded position in the draw, the 19 year old caused Slovenia heartaches. In the opening round he beat Deni Kozul, the no.18 seed (11-8, 11-8, 11-8), before upsetting the pecking order by overcoming Darko Jorgic, the no.9 seed (11-9, 2-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5).
No place in the last eight for two notable names; that was not the situation for Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri, the top seed nor for Sweden’s Anton Källberg, the no.2 seed; likewise, Frenchman, Can Akkuzu, the no.4 seed, also progressed.
However, the places were not booked without some testing times; Yuto Kizukuri in particular experienced nervous moments. In the second round he had to withstand a brave recovery by Chinese Taipei’s Yang Tzu-Yu, the no.17 seed, before emerging success (11-5, 11-8, 11-13, 17-19, 11-5).
Meanwhile, less dramatically, Can Akkuzu also caused Chinese Taipei problems by beating Yang Heng-Wei, the no.10 seed (11-5, 8-11, 11-3, 11-3), whilst rather more comfortably Anton Källberg ended the hopes of Japan’s Koyo Kanamitsu, the no.16 seed (11-5, 11-9, 11-6).
At the quarter-final stage to be played later in the day, Yuto Kizukuri meets German’s Kilian Ort, the no7 seed; Can Akkuzu confronts, Japan’s Yuma Tsuboi, the no.8 seed. In the opposite half of the draw, Lin Yun-Ju faces Tomas Polansky, Anton Källberg confronts China’s Xue Fei, the no.5 seed.