by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Four groups form the first stage of competition but the fourth group comprises players from the regions of south, south east, mid and west Asia; the highest world ranked players compete in the first three groups.
After beating Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan (11-4, 11-4, 11-6), Fan Zhendong, the top seed, was beaten by Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto (11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8); Tomokazu Harimoto having earlier in the day accounted for Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko (11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8).
Defeat in the second match of the day for Fan Zhendong after winning the first; it was the same for colleague Lin Gaoyuan. He suffered at the hands of Korea’s Lee Sangsu (11-8, 11-5, 11-5), having earlier beaten Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An (11-8, 11-3, 11-6). In his opening contest, Lee Sangsu had accounted for Hong Kong’s Jian Tianyi (11-8, 13-11, 7-11, 11-7).
Problems for Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan, it was not that much easier for Wong Chun Ting. After recording a straight games win in opposition to Jeong Sangeun, also from Korea (11-9, 11-6, 11-2), he needed the full five games to beat Japan’s Koki Niwa (11-8, 11-13, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6).
Conversely, in the Women’s Singles event, the top three names, the Chinese duo of Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling alongside the host nation’s Kasumi Ishikawa all remained unbeaten after their two opening contests.
The member of the trio to be examined was Zhu Yuling; she had to recover from a two games to nil deficit against Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem (7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-1, 11-9), prior to overcoming Japan’s Miu Hirano in straight games (11-9, 11-6, 11-6).
Otherwise, there were no full distance duels for the elite. Chen Meng beat Lee Ho Ching, like Doo Hoi Kem from Hong Kong (11-1, 11-7, 11-5), before overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching (11-8, 11-4, 11-4); similarly, Kasumi Ishikawa accounted Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu (12-10, 11-5, 11-7), prior to overcoming Korea’s Suh Hyowon (11-9, 11-3, 6-11, 11-4).
Meanwhile in the regional group, in the Men’s Singles event Iran’s Nima Alamian remains the one unbeaten player after two matched; in the Women’s competition that honour belongs to Ayikha Mukherjee.
Nima Alamian beat India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar (6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8) and Thailand’s Padasak Tsanviriyavechakul (11-6, 11-7, 11-4); Ayika Mukherjee accounted for Iran’s Neda Shahasavari (16-14, 11-4, 11-9) and Vietnam’s Mai Hoang My Trang (11-4, 11-7, 11-9).
The first stage of play in both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events concludes later today.