by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
In his opening contest Marcos Freitas, the no.10 seed, had beaten Australia’s David Powell, the no.20 seed, in four straight games (11-7, 11-3, 11-2, 11-9); Lee Sangsu, the no.9 seed and the highest ranked player on duty in the initial group phase had required the full seven games to overcome Kanak Jha of the United States, the no.19 seed (9-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-1, 11-4).
Contrasting outcomes, it was the very same in their second matches of the day. Marcos Freitas accounted for Ukraine’s Kou Lei, the no.13 seed, without the loss of a single game (11-3, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6); as in his opening contest, Lee Sangsu was extended to the limit. Eventually by the narrowest of margins, he beat Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.14 seed (11-8, 1-11, 7-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 12-10).
Players finishing in first and second places in each of the four groups, join the eight seeds in the knock-out stage; thus Kou Lei meets David Powell, Quadri Aruna faces Kanak Jha to determine who will gain second place and progress.
A narrow defeat for Quadri Aruna, it was the same for his African colleague, Egypt’s Omar Assar. The no.11 seed, he was beaten in seven games by Russia’s Alexander Shibaev, the no.16 seed (8-11, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7).
Alexander Shibaev now meets the host nation’s Cédric Nuytinck, the no.17 seed who earlier in the day had lost to Omar Assar in seven games (9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8).
Omar Assar can only watch, wait and hope.
Owing the withdrawal of Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An through illness, there was no match in the one remaining group; Korea’s Jeong Youngsik meets Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi to determine first place.
Photos: Christophe Neuville