by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Most certainly for Alexandre Cassin it is a notable success; in the Chinese camp there are high hopes for Wang Chuqin.
He played in the World Junior Championships in both 2015 and in 2016, whilst most recently he won the Boys’ Singles title at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships; the counterpart event being one in which Alexandre Cassin has enjoyed notable success. He won the Boys’ Singles titles in 2014 and 2016 at the European Youth Championships, having in 2015 been the runner up.
“It’s always hard to win against Chinese players. I played against Wang Chuqin back at the 2015 World Junior Championships in France, it was a tough match and I lost four-two in the quarter-finals. Before today’s match, I had a talk with my coach and he told me that I had to stay really focused today. I did and I believed in myself throughout the match and I beat him.” Alexandre Cassin
Defeat for one rising Chinese teenager and there was defeat for another. Xue Fei lost to the more experienced 34 year old, João Monteiro but he came perilously close to beating the Portuguese star. He held one match point in the deciding seventh game before experiencing defeat (11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 14-16, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9).
“I started very well. I won the first two games pretty easy. He had four game points in the fourth, after losing a game like this I needed to keep focused and not to lose my head. In the seventh game I needed to stay focused and I needed to stay in front. He made a mistake on the match ball which I was relieved to see. Happy to beat a Chinese national team player, a great result for me; bring on the main draw! João Monteiro
Impressive performances from Alexandre Cassin and João Monteiro; as matters concluded in the preliminary round there was one more that really caught the eye.
Hong Kong’s 19 year old Ng Pak Nam, listed at no.170 on the current Men’s World Rankings accounted for Patrick Franziska, named at no.53 and integral to German success at the recent Liebherr 2017 European Team Championships to reserve his main draw place.
Further Ng Pak Nam won is style; he prevailed in four straight games (11-7, 11-7, 12-11, 12-10).