by Simon Daish
Kristian Karlsson was the sole Swedish competitor to feature in the last 16 of the Men’s Singles draw, facing a huge uphill battle against world no.10 Fang Bo.
The home player actually made a strong start to the tie and was unlucky to fall a game behind to Fang Bo, but the crowd were ultimately left disappointed as Kristian Karlsson lost out to his Chinese opponent in straight games (12-14, 4-11, 1-11, 6-11) to end Sweden’s campaign in the category.
There was further success for China in the Round of 16 as the first and second seeded players Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin came out on top in their respective encounters against Benedikt Duda (6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3) and Tomokazu Harimoto (9-11, 4-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9).
Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, who both began in the qualification tournament, have qualified for the quarter-finals in Stockholm at the expense of Marcos Freitas and Kenta Matsudaira, contributing two of the biggest shocks of the day in the process.
The Round of 16 exit for Sweden in the Men’s Singles event was matched over in the Women’s Singles tournament as Matilda Ekholm came undone in the second round of the main draw.
Fighting against the odds Matilda Ekholm struggled to find her rhythm, losing out to Chen Meng by a four games to nil scoreline (7-11, 5-11, 1-11, 3-11) while the other European competitor Hu Melek, Turkey, exited to Chen Xingtong (5-11, 4-11, 6-11, 11-6, 4-11).
Success for China in the lower half of the draw but the country’s competitors endured mixed outcomes in the top segment of the field as two quarter-finals encounters went ahead at the close of the day.
Ding Ning’s presence in the penultimate stage of the competition may come as no surprise, defeating Zhang Qiang across six games (7-11, 11-9, 14-12, 5-11, 11-3, 11-6) but the result wasn’t replicated for fellow Chinese representative Gu Yuting who narrowly missed out to fourth seed Kasumi Ishikawa in the other match (10-12, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 6-11).
Day two also hosted doubles action as partnerships battled it out for places in Sunday’s finals.
Hong Kong will be represented in the Men’s Doubles title match following a positive semi-finals outing from Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, seeing off Indian duo Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in four games (12-10, 11-3, 7-11, 11-4) to set up a meeting with China’s Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin in the race to reach the top step of the podium.
There is also a gold medal chance for China in the Women’s Doubles event with the powerful pairing of Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling claiming an impressive win against the top seeds Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching in the last four (11-5, 13-11, 11-6). Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito will face the Chinese partnership for the title.