by Simon Daish
Simon Gauzy endured a difficult start to the Men’s Singles event in Magdeburg with the Frenchman requiring the full seven games distance to see off Japanese qualifier Jin Ueda, and the 11th seed awaits another tough task in the Round of 16 with no.4 seed Timo Boll providing the opposition.
The German star heads into the tie off the back of a positive result against Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson and having received the runner up prize at the recent Liebherr 2017 ITTF-Men’s World Cup, but Gauzy will be confident of his chances in the tie following his six games triumph over Boll at the 2017 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in February.
One of the standout results of day one saw Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia cause a major upset by eliminating fifth seed Zhang Jike from the competition.
Unseeded for the tournament, Tiago Apolonia faces a tricky encounter in the last 16 against ninth seed Wong Chun Ting, while the other Portuguese competitor in action Marcos Freitas meets face-to-face with China’s Xu Xin.
Fresh from her success at the Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup Presented by Polar Naturals and seeded first for the Women’s Singles draw at this year’s German Open, Zhu Yuling is understandably a title contender in Magdeburg.
However, the new world no.1 could face a serious challenge on day two of the event, taking on Wang Manyu in the quarter-finals who came out on top with a straight games victory when the two met at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum Australian Open.
The winner of that fixture will be rewarded with a spot in the semi-finals where she will face either third seed Kasumi Ishikawa or 12th seed Wu Yang, who will play out a repeat of last year’s title match when they meet in the last eight.
Lower down in the draw Japanese star Mima Ito does battle with China’s Feng Yalan with two further Chinese competitors Chen Meng and Chen Ke contesting the other semi-finals match.
Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri and Tomokazu Harimoto put on a fantastic show in the Men’s Doubles quarter-finals with a terrific display against Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong on day one. The teenage stars will require a similar outing on Saturday as they take on the impressive Hong Kong duo of Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting in the last four.
Over in the Women’s Doubles semi-finals Cheng I-Ching and Chen Szu-Yu fly the flag for Chinese Taipei, but can they continue their fine run in Magdeburg with a surprise win against the top seeds Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching?