by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Impressively, he beat Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.5 seed, in five games (8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9) to reserve his place in the second round.
“I have never beaten him before, last year at the Asian Championships in the Men’s Team event I had three match points and lost. In the first game today I was ahead 8-5 and lost, in the second I was down 8-5 and won! Actually most games I was down and won. The only way for me to beat him was to use my power, take some risks. In rallies I had no chance against him. Also I tried to play slowly not too fast” Sharath Kamal Achanta
Success contrary to seeding it was the same for Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson and China’s Zhou Yu, all players who like Sharath Kamal Achanta had been required to compete in the two day qualification tournament.
Jonathan Groth beat Qatar’s Li Ping, the no.16 seed (11-8, 11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5); Mattias Karlsson overcame Frenchman, Simon Gauzy, the no.8 seed (11-3, 11-8, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9). Similarly, Zhou Yu ended the hopes of Egypt’s Omar Assar, the no.14 seed (11-5, 13-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6).
Meanwhile, in the remaining contests in the first round in the top half of the draw in the Men’s Singles event, China enjoyed success as Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin imposed their authority on proceedings. Fan Zhendong, the top seed, beat Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura (11-9, 5-11, 11-3, 11-1, 13-11), Xu Xin, the no.4 seed, overcame Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia (13-15, 11-2, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4).
Success for China as anticipated, in the same vein there was success for Japan and Korea; for both at the expense of Germany. Jun Mizutani beat Patrick Franziska (5-11, 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-13, 11-5), for Korea, Lee Sangsu overcame Bastian Steger (12-10, 11-9, 5-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9).
The second round of the Men’s Singles event will be played on Friday 9th March.