by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The win recorded by Tobias Hippler was one of two instances that witnessed defeat for the higher seeded player; the other was the demise of the host nation’s Joan Masip, the no.16 seed.
He suffered at the hands of Korea’s An Jaehyun (11-7, 11-5, 11-7); a player, who had it not been for an absence from the international scene in recent months, would no doubt have been seeded as opposed to being required to compete in the qualification tournament.
Otherwise, with quarter-final places at stake it was success for the favourites but in the case of Japan’s Yuki Matsuyama, the no.3 seed and the Czech Republic’s Jiri Martinko, the no.5 seed, it was almost farewell. Both recovered from two games to nil deficits, before emerging successful by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game. Yuki Matsuyama beat Italian qualifier Chen Shuainan (9-11, 3-11, 11-6, 14-12, 11-9); Jiri Martinko overcame Hong Kong’s Kwan Man Ho, the no.14 seed (9-11, 19-21, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10).
Narrow margins; for Cho Seungmin, like An Jaehyun from Korea and the top seed, life was less dramatic. He beat Spanish qualifier, Carlos Caballero (11-8, 11-4, 11-1); similarly Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus, the no.2 seed, did not need a deciding game. He accounted for Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica, the no.9 seed, with just the loss of the third game (12-10, 12-10, 6-11, 11-6).
Similarly in the remaining second round Under 21 Men’s Singles matches the higher rated player established authority. Argentina’s Horacio Cifuentes, the no.6 seed, accounted for the Czech Republic’s Stanislav Kucera, the no.11 seed, in four games (11-8, 11-3, 10-12, 11-3); in straight games, Simon Soderlund, the no.7 seed, overcame French qualifier Rémi Menand (11-5, 11-7, 11-2).
At the quarter-final stage, in the top half of the draw Cho Seungmin meets Simon Soderlund, Horacio Cifuentes opposes An Jaehyun; in the lower half Yuki Matsuyama confronts Tobias Hippler, Jiri Martinko plays Aliaksandr Khanin.
The Under 21 Men’s Singles event will be played to a conclusion on Saturday 31st March.