by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
A major triumph five years ago for Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan but since that date success has been minimal, a fact reflected in Bremen; although the winners of the highest honour the sport has to offer, they were not seeded and in fact caused an upset.
They beat Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson, the no.4 seeds, winners of the Men’s Doubles event at the 2015 Polish Open in Warsaw; most impressively, they won in three straight games (11-8, 11-7, 11-8).
Somewhat conversely, Ma Long and Xu Xin, the no.8 seeds and regarded by many as the most formidable doubles partnership in the world experienced a host of problems against a very new partnership.
Facing 22 year old Lia Cheng-Ting and 16 year old Lin Yun-Ju, like Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan from Chinese Taipei, they lost the opening two games before standing on the very brink of defeat in the third. Eventually Ma Long and Xu Xin recovered to win in five games (7-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-7).
Testing times for two notable partnerships, for the top three pairs there were no such travails.
Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, the top seeds, beat the combination of Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Simon Gauzy of France (8-11, 11-6, 11-5, 13-11), Germany’s Patrick Franziska in harness with Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.2 seeds, overcame Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Hunor Szocs (11-6, 11-8, 11-9). Similarly Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Masataka Morizono, the no.3 seeds, ended the hopes of Korea’s Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon (11-5, 14-12, 12-10).
The quarter-finals of the Men’s Doubles event will be played on Friday 23rd March.