24 Aug 2017

Winner one year ago when he beat Frenchman Stéphane Ouaiche in the final, Japan’s Yuto Muramatsu suffered a shock first round exit in the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc on the afternoon of Thursday 24th August.

However, he was not the biggest name to fall as play progressed in the top half of the draw; that unwanted honour belonged to Frenchman Simon Gauzy.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Simon Gauzy, the no.3 seed and the runner up some seven weeks ago in Australia, lost to Jin Ueda (11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9), who by upsetting the pecking order, balanced the books for Japan. On the adjacent table Yuto Muramatsu, the no.11 seed, was on his way to defeat against Sweden’s Anton Källberg (11-6, 16-14, 11-9, 11-1).

Success for Anton Källberg reflects a growing maturity in the play of the young man who celebrated his 20th birthday one week ago; one wonders if we went back to junior days would he have been able to cope with the defensive skills of the silver medallist at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games?

We will never know, in Olomouc it was the first time the two had met on the international scene; however Jin Ueda and Simon Gauzy were no strangers and although the seeding suggested an upset; history presented a counter argument.

In world ranking events, they had met on two previous occasions, each time on the ITTF World Tour; in 2011 in Japan, last year in Sweden. On both occasions Jin Ueda had won in five games, tradition was maintained in Olomouc.

Defeats for two seeded players and there were defeats for two more. China’s Xue Fei beat Ukraine’s Kou Lei, the no.10 seed by the very narrowest of decisions (9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 14-16, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9); at the same time, rather more comfortably Sweden’s Pär Gerell ended the hopes of Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.14 seed (11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-4).

Farewell to four notable names, for the remaining seeds in the top half of the draw it was success; Germany in particular enjoying fruitful times.

Timo Boll, the top seed, beat Egypt’s Omar Assar (11-9, 11-6, 11-2, 15-13) and thus repeated the success enjoyed earlier this year when he had won in China, a rather more exacting second round duel; on that occasion he needed six games to ensure victory (7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4, 7-11, 11-3).

“Of course the first match is never easy, you have to find your rhythm, your flexibility, I was a little bit stiff in the beginning. I had to force myself to move a little bit better but after the first game I improved, I felt much better and then I had a feeling that I could control the game.” Timo Boll

Impressive from Timo Boll; likewise, Ruwen Filus, the no.5 seed, accounted for Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan (11-7, 11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7), whilst not to be outdone, Bastian Steger, the no.13 seed, ended the aspirations of Japan’s Yuki Matsuyama (9-11, 11-2, 14-16, 11-5, 11-1, 11-5).

Two defeats for Japan in the guise of Yuto Muramatsu and Yuki Matsuyama; in an air of anti-climax there was also defeat for Yuto Kizukuri; facing Frenchman, Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.8 seed, after losing the opening game (11-6), he was forced to withdraw through injury.

In round two, in the top half of the draw Timo Boll meets Xue Fei, Pär Gerell opposes Ruwen Filus; Emmanuel Lebesson plays Anton Källbrerg whilst Bastian Steger confronts Jin Ueda.

The second round of the Men’s Singles event commences at 4.00pm (local time) on Friday 25th August.

World Tour 2017 Seamaster Czech Open Simon Gauzy Jin Ueda Anton Källberg Yuto Muramatsu

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