by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The major casualty was Japan’s 14 year old Tomokazu Harimoto, a young man who in the past two years has delighted in causing upset after upset; the no.8 seed in Bremen he found the variations in the defensive skills of Germany’s Ruwn Filus just that little too difficult to read. Just as Hugo Calderano experienced a six games defeat, so did Tomokazu Harimoto (11-5, 7-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5).
Success for Ruwen Filus, for colleague it was defeat on what proved a good evening for Sweden; he was beaten by Kristian Karlsson, the no.16 seed (5-11, 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9).
“I played very well. We are good friends, living and practising together in Düsseldorf. It’s always close when we play against each other. I saw some matches of him in the qualification, so I am very satisfied to beat him four-two.” Kristian Karlsson
Positive outcomes for two Swedes, one surprise, one expected; it was the same for Hong Kong. Ho Kwan Kit caused the upset by beating Egypt’s Omar Assar, the no.14 seed (11-6, 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 12-19), Wong Chun Ting, the no.6 seed, advanced as predicted; he overcame a most dangerous opponent in the guise of Jeong Sangeun (11-5, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5).
Defeat for Korea but there was success; Lee Sangsu, who the previous week at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Polish Open in Spala had suffered a shock second round defeat at the hands of the Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirucek (11-6, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9) displayed a welcome return to form. The no.12 seed, he ended the progress of Russia’s Kirill Skachkov (12-10, 11-3, 7-11, 13-11, 11-3).
“I played well but it was a little bit different in the main hall because of the ball jumping. I tried to find a rhythm to my play but against such a good player it’s very difficult. I was thinking too much about the service; at the end of the day Lee Sangsu was more powerful.” Kirill Skachkov
A place in the second round as expected for Lee Sangsu, it was the same for Japan’s Koki Niwa and Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan; both beat compatriots, Koki Niwa, the no.4 seed, accounted for Jin Ueda (11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6); Chuang Chih-Yuan ended the progress of Lia Cheng-Ting (4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8).
The second round and quarter-finals of the Men’s Singles event will be played on Saturday 25th March.