22 Sep 2017

Winner on the ITTF Challenge Series in April in Slovenia, Germany’s Bastian Steger, alongside the man in current scintillating form, China’s Lin Gaoyuan, upset the order of merit as proceedings came to a conclusion in the opening round of the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum, Hybiome Austrian Open in Linz.

Required to compete in the qualification tournament, playing on adjacent tables, both responded in style to the challenge presented; neither required a seventh game decider in their quest for a second round place.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Now 36 years of age, moving in the category of great experience, Bastian Steger accounted for a player from a generation younger, he beat Japan’s 23 year old Yuya Oshima, the no.8 seed 11-8, 11-5, 11-6, 4-11, 11-4), an athletic young man who is somewhat forehand orientated and relies heavily on his speed to gain success.

However, when speed is the key factor, there is no player faster than the quicksilver Lin Gaoyuan; the 22 year old was at full throttle against Portugal’s 29 years of age Marcos Freitas, the no.5 seed (9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4).

“It’s our first encounter and Freitas was a seeded player, he is very strong. I did sufficient preparation prior to the match but I think I didn’t adapt quickly enough. I didn’t grasp the rhythm of the match, that’s why I lost the first game. Coming back from 7-10 to win the second game was crucial; I was more firm in executing my strokes in those moments. If I had lost that game as well, I would have been under a great deal of pressure trailing two-nil. At that moment, Freitas was also a little hesitant. In the fourth game I was a bit unlucky; I made some unforced errors as well. Luckily I regained control of the match in the last two games to win.” Lin Gaoyuan

Defeats for two seeded players but there were no more as the first round of the Men’s Singles progressed to a close; alas for Portugal it meant a further defeat; João Monteiro was beaten by Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.2 seed (11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6).
Success for Japan and there was further success for the Land of the Rising Sun; Masaki Yoshida, the no.9 seed, accounted for Spain’s Alvaro Robles (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5).

Likewise, there was more success for Germany but there was also disappointment. Ruwen Filus, the no.10 seed, accounted for Frenchman Alexandre Cassin (11-3, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7) but for colleague Ricardo Walther it was defeat. He was beaten by Simon Gauzy, the no.4 seed (4-11, 3-11, 13-11, 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 11-7) and like Alexandre Cassin from France.

Wins as anticipated, it was the very same in the other contests that brought the day to an end. Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.15 seed, beat Japan’s Masataka Morizono (11-0, 7-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6), whilst to the delight of the home supporters Stefan Fegerl, the no.11 seed, halted the aspirations of Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit (10-12, 14-16, 13-11, 12-10, 11-1, 11-8).

The second round of the Men’s Singles event will be played in entirety on Friday 22nd September.

World Tour 2017 Seamaster Austrian Open Lin Gaoyuan Bastian Steger

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2017 ITTF Hybiome Austrian Open