by Simon Daish
China has made a bright start to the opening round of the Women’s Singles tournament in Astana with three of its players progressing safely through to the quarter-finals.
Chen Xingtong has been receiving plenty of attention in recent weeks and rightfully so following her outstanding performance at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open.
Now the 20-year-old star has begun her campaign in the Kazakh capital with a fine win against Germany’s Shan Xiaona (11-2, 11-6, 12-10, 5-11, 12-10), joining fellow countrywomen Chen Meng and Gu Yuting in the last eight following their respective victories over Doo Hoi Kem (11-5, 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 11-8) and Miu Hirano (11-5, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 12-14, 11-9).
Singapore’s Feng Tianwei also picked up an opening day win with a class display against Cheng I-Ching (11-9, 7-11, 17-15, 11-5, 11-8) to set up a fixture with top seed Chen Meng.
Success for China was also apparent in the Men’s Singles draw as Lin Gaoyuan, Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong all booked their places in the next stage of the competition with positive results on day one.
Lin Gaoyuan enjoyed a swift victory in his opening match of the tournament, claiming a straight games triumph over Masaki Yoshida (11-4, 11-1, 11-6, 11-7) while another victory for China against Japan came courtesy of Xu Xin who prevailed against Kenta Matsudaira with little difficulty (11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8).
Elsewhere Fan Zhendong required six games to overcome a brave challenge from Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan (17-15, 8-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6) while Germany’s Timo Boll pulled off somewhat of a comeback (11-6, 8-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-6) to oust Japan’s Yuya Oshima from the competition.
Disappointment all-round for Japan across both singles categories, but it was a different story for the country’s representatives involved in doubles action.
The top seeded partnership of Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura proved too strong at the quarter-finals stage of the Men’s Doubles draw, inflicting a three games to nil defeat upon the Belgian duo of Robin Devos and Cedric Nuytinck (11-9, 11-6, 11-7).
Over in the opening round of the Women’s Doubles event the Japanese pairing of Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato calmly negotiated their tie against the mixed nationality team of Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota (11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7) to advance through to the last four.