by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Jeong Sangeun, the no.3 seed, had suffered in six games at the hands of Ukraine’s Yaroslav Zhmudenko (8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 11-6); in round two Lee Sangsu, the top seed, experienced defeat in a more emphatic manner, he was beaten in straight games by the Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirucek (11-6, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9).
Defeats for Jeong Sangeun and Lee Sangsu, who some three weeks ago had been pivotal to the bronze medal secured by Korea at the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup in London; however, there was some respite for Korea in the efforts of the third member of the team. Jeoung Youngsik, the no.27 seed, he ended the progress of Chile’s Felipe Olivares. However, at one stage it looked as though he might be bidding adios; he lost the first two games before recovering to win the next four (5-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11.6, 11-6, 11-6).
Equally, for Korea there were successes for Jang Woojin, the no.4 seed and Lim Jonghoon, the no.8 seed; both beat qualifiers, Jang Woojin overcame Germany’s Kilian Ort (11-8, 11-1, 13-11, 9-11, 14-12), Lim Jonghoon accounted for Slovenia’s Deni Kozul (9-11, 11-8, 9-11. 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8).
However, the Korean performance to note was that displayed by Cho Daeseong, he is special; only 15 years old and required to compete in the qualification tournament, he ousted Iran’s Nima Alamian, the no.24 seed (12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6).
Problems for Korea, there were also problems for India and Hong Kong.
India’s leading player for well over a decade, Sharath Kamal Achanta, the no.9 seed, was beaten by Russia’s Kirill Skachkov, the no.26 seed (11-9, 4-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7), Sanil Shetty the no.14 seed, suffered at the hands of French qualifier Antoine Hachard (11-2, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9).
Likewise, for Hong Kong, Jiang Tianyi, the no.6 seed, experienced defeat by the very narrowest of decisions in opposition to Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic (11-7, 14-16, 6-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9), Ho Kwan Kit, the no.5 seed bid farewell at Russian hands; he lost to Grigory Vlasov (13-11, 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8). Similarly, Ng Pak Nam, the no.13 seed, was beaten by Belarus qualifier Pavel Platonov (12-10, 12-10, 11-3, 11-8).
However, just as with Korea, for both countries there was a saving grace; for India it was Amalraj Anthony, for Hong Kong Lam Siu Hang. In the second round of the Men’s Singles event both beat qualifiers. Amalraj Anthony, the no.17 seed, overcame Slovakian qualifier Alexander Valuch (11-8, 11-6, 11-3, 11-2), Lam Siu Hang, the no.10 seeds, ended the hopes of Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa but he very nearly joined his colleagues on the tourist bus. He recovered from a three games to nil deficit to beat Mizuki Oikawa by the very narrowest of seven game margins (7-11, 8-11, 10-12, 11-4, 12-10, 11-5, 12-10).
Varying fortunes for Korea, Hong Kong and India; Ukraine was not to be left out. Yaroslav Zhudmenko was unable to maintain his first round form. He was beaten by fellow qualifier Japan’s Yukiya Uda (6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10), conversely, Kou Lei, the no.2 seed, ended the hopes of Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus (11-4, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5).
Meanwhile, in the two remaining second round Men’s Singles contests, Romania’s Hunor Szocs, the no.15 seed, accounted for Japanese qualifier, Masaki Takami (11-9, 14-12, 8-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7); Germany’s Qiu Dang ended the hopes of fellow qualifier Canada’s Eugene Wang (13-11, 13-11, 6-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8).
The third round and quarter-finals of the Men’s Singles event will be held on Friday 16th March.