by Simon Daish
Success For Qualifiers, Seeds Stumble
Beginning his campaign in the two-day qualification tournament Mattias Karlsson has extended his Men’s Singles run with yet another win in Doha with the Swedish competitor coming out on top against seventh seed Simon Gauzy across five games (11-3, 11-8, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9).
Frenchman Simon Gauzy was not the only seeded player to make an early exit in the opening round: Marcos Freitas had little to smile about on day one as the ninth seed from Portugal lost out to Ukraine’s Kou Lei (11-8, 16-14, 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-2).
10th seed Chuang Chih-Yuan was also eliminated at the first hurdle with the Chinese Taipei representative narrowly missing out to China’s Fang Bo (11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 13-15, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7), who will meets fellow countryman Lin Gaoyuan in the next round.
On what will be looked back at as a mixed day out in Doha for the Japanese team, Koki Niwa and Yuya Oshima were left stunned by Indian opponents Sharath Kamal Achanta (9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9) and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (6-11, 11-5, 2-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8). However, there was success for Jun Mizutani and Tomokazu Harimoto, defeating Patrick Franziska (5-11, 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 13-11, 11-5) and Mihai Bobocica (11-5, 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 6-11, 11-3) to reach to Round of 16.
World No.1 Departs And European Hopes Dashed
The Women’s Singles competition has got off to a dramatic start with the World No.1 suffering an opening round defeat in Doha.
Named as the second seed for the event Zhu Yuling would of course face an unseeded opponent in the Round of 32, however, unfortunately for her she was handed a difficult fixture with Liu Shiwen who prevailed against her fellow compatriot by four games to two (12-14, 11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5).
Another major name to lose out on the opening day of the main event was Mima Ito after the Japanese teenage star ended up on the wrong side of a seven games encounter with Wang Yidi (11-7, 4-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4) while there was also an opening round exit for ninth seed Doo Hoi Kem.
There will be no European representation in the last 16 of the Women’s Singles draw following eliminations for Bernadette Szocs, Fu Yu and Yang Xiaoxin. Chen Meng’s fine display against Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin (6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5, 11-2), coupled with Zhu Yuling’s opening round defeat, means that Chen Meng will move back to the summit of the Women’s World Rankings list in April’s publication.
Asian Partnerships Reach Penultimate Round
There was plenty of drama at the quarter-finals stage of the Women’s Doubles tournament as three matches went right down to the wire; top seeds Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato narrowly came through their match with the Japanese duo beating Singapore’s Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu by the closest of margins (5-11, 12-10, 11-9, 5-11, 13-11).
Over in the Men’s Doubles event there was just the one deciding game thriller as Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu accounted for the mixed nationality pairing of Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth (11-2, 11-8, 11-13, 8-11, 11-9) of Germany and Denmark respectively.