by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Earlier in the year in late June, at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour China Open, at the semi-final stage of the Men’s Doubles event, Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri sensationally beat Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the top seeds. They emerged successful in a dramatic five games duel (6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 14-12).
Surely when the pair met again the Chinese duo, stung by the reverse would extract revenge? A top Chinese player or pair losing to an opponent from foreign shores is not a too frequent experience, the same outcome in consecutive contests in modern times is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
In Magdeburg, not only did the Japanese teenagers repeat their Chengdu success, they repeated the success in four straight games (13-11, 12-10, 11-6).
The win rather overshadowed further upsets in the quarter-finals of the Men’s Doubles event in Magdeburg.
In an equally impressive manner, the hitherto untried combination of Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang and China’s Yu Ziyang, like Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri required to compete in the qualification tournament, had the previous day ousted top seeds, Japan’s Koki Niwa and Jin Ueda (14-12, 11-6, 11-4). They repeated the performance. They accounted for Singapore’s Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie (11-5, 11-5, 11-9).
Success for Hong Kong and there was further success for the Special Administrative Region of China; furthermore it was a success that upset the order of merit. Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, the no.6 seeds, beat Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi, the no.4 seeds (11-6, 11-8, 11-4).
Three upsets according to seeding; just one quarter-final encounter went to plan; Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu, the no.3 seeds, beat Chinese Taipei qualifiers, Liao Cheng-Ting and Yang Heng-Wei (11-7, 11-5, 11-6).
At the semi-final stage Lam Siu Hang and Yu Ziyang meet Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu, Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting oppose Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri.
The matches are scheduled for 10.00am (local time) on Saturday 11th November.