by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The top seed, the athletic right handed pen-holder was beaten in five games by the powerful 26 year old Egyptian, Omar Assar (11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10).
One upset but as play commenced in the first round of the Men’s Singles event, it was success for those who had received direct entries.
Notably, Yan An, the no.7 seed and the winner earlier this year in Hungary emerged successful but he was tested. The no.7 seed, he had to recover from a two games to nil deficit before securing victory in opposition to Belgium’s Florent Lambiet (5-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9, 12-10).
“It was my first match of the tournament. It wasn’t a smooth start to the match; I wasn’t comfortable with the new balls as I haven’t been playing internationally for a while. I had to adapt to the conditions. Lambiet on the other hand was more familiar having played in the qualifications. I hope it gets better as I get more used to the environment here.” Yan An
A hard fought win for Yan An; it was even harder for the defending champion, Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira and Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson.
Kenta Matsudaira, the no.6 seed, overcame Denmark’s Jonathan Groth in the closest match of the tournament to date. He prevailed by the very narrowest of margins in a titanic seven games duel (10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 16-14).
It was the same for Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson; the no.12 seed, beat Germany’s Benedikt Duda by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game (10-12, 11-9, 4-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9).