by Simon Daish
Impressive on the opening day of the Men’s Singles competition, but a stern test awaits Brazil’s Hugo Calderano on day two with World No.1 Timo Boll providing the opposition right at the foot of the draw.
Remarkably Hugo Calderano and Timo Boll haven’t faced each other on the ITTF World Tour prior to the Seamaster 2018 Qatar Open, but are familiar foes at club level with both players competing for rival German Bundesliga sides. Can Calderano topple Boll in Doha – or will there be a quarter-finals place reserved for the World No.1?
Victorious against Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura in the opening round, now another player from the country opposes top seed Fan Zhendong with Jun Mizutani awaiting in the last 16. The previous encounter between the two came last year at the ITTF World Tour event held in Tokyo: prevailing in five games Fan Zhendong proved too strong for Jun Mizutani on that occasion and will be the hot favourite to progress to the quarter-finals when they meet in Doha.
Lee Sangsu celebrated a couple of major scalps against members of the Chinese team in 2017, including a powerful 4-0 victory over Xu Xin at the German Open in November. The rising Korea Republic star and the master of pen-hold will do battle once again, this time for a spot in the last eight of the Men’s Singles draw.
The opening day of Women’s Singles main draw action saw Zhu Yuling say her farewells to the tournament – and there will be more major exits on the second day of the competition.
If Zhu Yuling’s duel with Liu Shiwen took the headlines on day one, then surely the standout contest on day two sees top seed Chen Meng go head-to-head with World and Olympic Champion Ding Ning. Out of seven previous meetings at international ranking events Chen Meng has only come out on top against Ding Ning once. Who will win the encounter in Doha? If you want to witness table tennis of the highest calibre then be sure not to miss this one!
Two of Japan’s brightest teenage stars will fight it out in the Round of 16 as Miu Hirano meets Hina Hayata: seeded seventh for the event Miu Hirano will be keen to book her appearance in the last eight of the competition, but can she hold off her fellow international teammate in Doha?
Elsewhere, Seamaster 2018 Hungarian Open gold medallist Wang Manyu takes on Miyu Kato while Chen Xingtong attempts to eliminate Liu Shiwen from the draw.