by Simon Daish
Mixed Emotions For Team China
Chinese table tennis fans experienced mixed emotions on day two of the Women’s Singles draw; a positive outing saw Chen Meng make her way through to the last eight, but also resulted in an early exit for Ding Ning.
Chen Meng, who will return to the top of the Women’s World Rankings list in April, saw off her fellow compatriot across five games (11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 17-15, 11-6) and went on to book her spot in the penultimate round of the event with a clean sweep win against another Chinese competitor Wang Yidi (12-10, 11-8, 18-16, 11-6).
The other player to reserve a place in the last four was Wang Manyu, beginning her day with a straight games win against Miyu Kato (11-5, 11-9, 11-8, 12-10). She then went on to achieve quarter-finals success in her encounter with Sun Yingsha (5-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2), defeating the reigning World Junior Champion for a second time on the 2018 ITTF World Tour.
In the lower half of the draw two quarter-finals ties remain: Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano will do battle following Round of 16 victories over fellow Japanese contestants Miyu Nagasaki (11-6, 11-4, 3-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8) and Hina Hayata (12-10, 13-11, 12-10, 13-11). Edging to a seven games win against Chen Xingtong (12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9), Liu Shiwen sets up a quarter-finals tie with Hitomi Sato.
Brazilian Star Lights Up The Stage
Who was responsible for the upset of the day? Step forward Brazil’s Hugo Calderano: the 13th seeded player claimed a major scalp in the last 16 of the Men’s Singles tournament, eliminating World No.1 Timo Boll (11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 12-10) in what was surely one of the biggest shocks of the competition so far.
India’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals fell just short of the mark. Sathiyan Gnanasekaran put up a brave fight against Tomokazu Harimoto, 14, but ultimately lost out to the Japanese teenager in the deciding game (7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-1, 11-4) while Sharath Kamal Achanta suffered defeat at the hands of Denmark’s Jonathan Groth (11-7, 11-7, 11-2, 12-10).
Recovering from a one game deficit, top seed Fan Zhendong managed to put his name into the quarter-finals with a strong performance against Jun Mizutani (8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6) with the remaining quarter-finals places reserved by Lin Gaoyuan, Xu Xin, Zhou Yu and Wong Chun Ting.
One Gold Medal Assured For China, Another in Sight
China will finish in the gold and silver medal positions in the Women’s Doubles competition following successful semi-finals outings for Chinese partnerships: Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha accounted for Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching (7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 13-11) while the top seeded pairing of Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato lost out to Chen Ke and Wang Manyu in seven games (11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 13-11).
Victory is also a possibility for China in the Men’s Doubles category after Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin’s three games to nil win against Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu (11-4, 11-8, 11-4) ensured the country’s representation in the final. Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Yuya Oshima are the other combination to progress to the title match.