by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Right handed Liu Dingshuo, with a liking for France, being crowned World Junior champion in 2015 in La Roche-sur-Yon, faced the left handed Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.15 seed, the latest Frenchman in the Jean-Philippe Gatien style of play with the quick-fire forehand.
Liu Dingshuo held the aces to emerge successful but in the fifth game as the winning post loomed. He did appear a little tense, he took a “Time Out” at 10-9, only for the Frenchman to level before eventually securing the contest, after holding one more match point at 11-10; the celebration was one of joy mingled with relief (11-7, 12-10, 11-7, 3-11, 13-11).
“I feel good, I was successful as a junior now to try to do well as a senior. Lebesson was very fast from his forehand; in the sixth game, I took the “Time Out” to re-focus, to make sure I won.” Liu Dingshuo
A hard fought success for Liu Dingshuo, it was even harder for Zhou Yu; he needed the full seven games to beat Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.8 seed (11-9, 9-11, 5-11, 12-10, 10-11, 13-11, 11-6).
“I didn’t feel that well prepared for the match. I was too relaxed. Chuang Chih-Yuan plays very fast that made it difficult for me but I came through and I felt better in the rallies as the match progressed.” Zhou Yu
In the corresponding match as proceedings advanced there was more success for China but as anticipated. Yan An, the no.10 seed, beat Japan’s Masataka Morizono (11-8, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7); Lin Gaoyuan, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes of Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura (13-11. 13-11, 11-2, 11-6).
In the second round Zhou Yu meets Yan An, Liu Dingshuo opposes Lin Gaoyuan; the matches will be played on Friday 17th November.