by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However, he was the only Swede to negotiate the second preliminary round; the major disappointment being the comprehensive defeat of Pär Gerell by Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko (11-8, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8).
A performance of note by Kirill Gerassimenko but as the latter stages of the qualification tournament came to a conclusion, he was not the only player to catch the eye.
The Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirucek very much led the line. He accounted for Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik (9-11, 11-5, 11-13, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8); equally imposing Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic overcame China’s Liang Jingkun (11-8, 4-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 12-10).
Jeoung Youngsik is returning to international action after an enforced break owing to a wrist injury but most notably has ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles titles to his name. Two years ago in 2015 he won on home soil in Incheon and also in Australia.
Meanwhile, although Liang Jingkun may have no such accolades to his name; last year he ended the schedule as one of the leading players in the prestigious China Super League.
“He is very powerful especially from the forehand, safe from the backhand. I was able to block reasonably well. He had some problems with my service, the reverse service; I think he was nervous, in the sixth game he led 10-5, I won the next seven points. It was like this morning again Romain Lorentz in the fifth game when he led 10-6 and won six in a row!” Darko Jorgic
Likewise, there was a most impressive performance from Denmark’s Zhai Yujia who beat England’s Paul Drinkhall (5-11, 6-11, 14-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4) , as there was from Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna who flew the flag for Africa. He overcame Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit, like Jeoung Youngsik an ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles winner. He won in 2014 in the Philippines. Quadri Aruna prevailed in six games (11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 8-11, 15-13, 11-4).
“Ho Kwan Kit knew my backhand is not that strong, he focused on my backhand; his serves are good and often I didn’t return that well but I blocked well today. I had no choice! Playing down the parallel towards his forehand proved successful but as the match progressed he anticipated that move.” Quadri Aruna
Noteworthy efforts, likewise the performances of China’s Zhou Yu and Japan’s Masataka Morizono should not be overlooked.
Masataka Morizono beat India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta (12-10, 13-11, 11-4, 11-9), Zhou Yu ended the hopes of Austria’s Robert Gardos (7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 13-11, 11-7).