by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
In the Men’s Doubles event Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang in harness with China’s Yu Ziyang caused the biggest upset of the evening; they accounted for the top seeded Japanese partnership formed by Koki Niwa and Jin Ueda (14-12, 11-6, 11-4).
Likewise in the Women’s Doubles event, the same formula emerged successful against the odds. China’s Gu Yuting in harness with Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam, accounted for the host nation’s Han Ying and Shan Xiaona, the no.8 seeds (11-8, 11-3, 11-8).
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Austria’s Liu Jia and Canada’s Zhang Mo, like Lam Siu Hang and Yu Ziyang, caused Japan heartaches. In the closest of the Women’s Doubles opening round matches, they overcame Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito, the no.4 seeds (12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 14-12).
Upsets and in the Men’s Doubles event, there were more, although one was of a technical nature. Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting and Yang Heng-Wei received a walk-over when due to face Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson, the no.7 seeds.
However, the win recorded by Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri, as they somewhat balanced the scales for Japan, was contrary to status. They beat the host nation’s Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther, the no.5 seeds (11-8, 6-11, 14-12, 12-10) but let us not forget that earlier this year, Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri emerged the runners up at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour China Open.
Memorably on that occasion they beat China’s Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the top seeds and reigning World champions, in a dramatic five games duel semi-final duel (6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 14-12). In Magdeburg the Chinese duo has the opportunity for revenge; the two pairs meet in the quarter-finals. In the opening round, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the no.2 seeds, beat Sweden’s Anton Källberg and Jon Persson (11-8, 11-5, 11-6).
Success for the second seeds in the first round of proceedings; in the Women’s Doubles event, it was success for the top two partnerships.
Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching overcame Korea’s Choi Hyojoo and Lee Zion (11-3, 11-5, 11-9); China’s Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling accounted for Thailand’s Orawan Paranang and Suthasini Sawettabut (9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6).