21 Oct 2017

A most praiseworthy 15th appearance and still for Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan a semi-final place at a Men’s World Cup proves elusive.

Five times a quarter-finalist, the no.8 seed, he was somewhat surprisingly beaten in the opening round of proceedings at the Liebherr 2017 Men’s World Cup in Liège, Belgium on the early afternoon of Saturday 21st October. He experienced defeat at the hands of Russia’s Alexander Shibaev, the no.16 seed (12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

It is only the second time, the other being in Moscow in 2009, when Chuang Chih-Yuan has not finished in the top 12 names.

Conversely for Alexander Shibaev, in now his third appearance in the tournament, it is the first time he has advanced beyond the initial group stage; in both 2014 in Düsseldorf and in last year in Saarbrücken, it was farewell on day one.

“I just continue to play without thinking of anything. Also I want to enjoy myself and take one step at a time; this is another step and I hope to continue with each step.” Alexander Shibaev

Success for Alexander Shibaev, success contrary to status; however, in the remaining contests in the lower half of the draw the outcome was anticipated.

Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.2 seed, beat Ukraine’s Kou Lei, the no.13 seed (11-4, 11-5, 13-11, 10-12, 11-6); the win coming after Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no.7 seed, had accounted for Korea’s Jeong Sangeun, the no.15 seed (9-11, 11-4, 13-11, 11-7, 11-9) and Japan’s Jun Mizutani, the no.4 seed, had ended African hopes. He beat Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.14 seed (11-6, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7).

“Yesterday I watched several videos of Quadri Aruna. I noticed he does not like playing against a left-handed player. He also has problem with receiving service. I prepared for this against him today and I used this against him. I knew that if I allowed him to play his forehand, it would be difficult for me to play against him. I just ensured I used my topspin well to his backhand. He is a very strong player with a lot of power but less technique on short balls.” Jun Mizutani

“I was trying to avoid Ma Long in the last 16; I never knew Mizutani was going to be so difficult. I tried my best from the start; it was just that Mizutani was all over me. I could not return his service well and this really affected me. I think as African representatives, Omar Assar and I really performed very well by qualifying from the group which was also very hard. Our performance has shown that Africa has come up; we gave our best against the best. Personally, I am satisfied with my performance. I have also learned from my first group match against Korea’s Lee Sangsu, I should never relax when I am leading in a match.” Quadri Aruna

At the quarter-final stage; in the lower half of the draw Jun Mizutani meets Simon Gauzy, Alexander Shibaev opposes Dimitrij Ovtcharov. In the opposite half, China’s Ma Long confronts Japan’s Koki Niwa; Lin Gaoyuan faces Germany’s Timo Boll.

The matches are scheduled to start later in the day at 6.30pm.

Liebherr 2017 ITTF Men’s World Cup: Latest Results

World Cup 2017 Liebherr Men's World Cup Dimitrij Ovtcharov Jun Mizutani Simon Gauzy Chuang Chih-Yuan Alexander Shibaev

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Day 3 - Liebherr 2017 Men's World Cup

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