by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Time and again we have seen Chinese stars recover to win; in the vital fifth game that scenario appeared more than a possibility as Fan Zhendong led 6-5; Chiang Peng-Lung, the Chinese Taipei coach sitting courtside, called “Time Out”.
Chen Chien-An levelled but the next two points went to Fan Zhendong; the momentum was now in favour of the top seed. Quite remarkably Fan Zhendong did not win another point. Chen Chien-An levelled, before Fan Zhendong served into the net, Chen Chien-An led 9-8. Now the balance was in favour of Chinese Taipei and Chen Chien-An was in the zone; the next two points were secured, Chiang Peng-Lung leapt to his feet in celebration.
A major upset, the win overshadowed the performance of Korea’s Jeong Sangeun, the no.8 seed, who beat Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.2 seed (15-17, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9), a group in which Chinese Taipei enjoyed further success, Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.6 seed, accounted for Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan, the no.12 seed (4-11, 14-12, 11-3, 11-7).
“My opponent Wong Chun Ting today was not in a good form and made a lot of unforced mistakes in changing the trajectory of the ball so I was the favourite in the rallies; the fact we had a break when the lights went out did not affect me.” Jeong Sangeun
Defeats for the top two names; for the third in the order of merit, it was success but a close call; Japan’s Jun Mizutani had to recover from a two games to nil deficit to emerge successful. Pertinently, he beat Lin Gaoyuan, the no.7 seed (9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9).
“I did not give up when I was two-nil down, I had confidence I could win in the end.” Jun Mizutani
Thus on the opening morning of play, both Chinese representatives had been beaten; has that ever happened since the tournament was first staged in Wuxi in 1983? I doubt it.
Success for Japan, in the same group as Chen Chien-An, Koki Niwa, the no.4 seed, beat Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit, the no.11 seed (11-8, 10-12, 11-3, 14-16, 11-4).
Meanwhile, in the group occupied by Jun Mizutani, the host nation’s Sharath Kamal Achanta, the no.10 seed, suffered at the hands of Korea’s Lee Sangsu (11-5, 11-7, 11-9).
Defeat for India but there was success; in the regions contests, Harmeet Desai beat Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbad (11-6, 12-10, 11-7); in the counterpart duel Iran’s Nima Alamian overcame Thailand’s Padasak Tanviriyavechakul (8-11, 11-7, 11-2, 8-11, 11-6).