by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Defeat for Lee Sangsu but it does mean he can repeat his Ahmedabad finish, six months ago he ended proceedings in third place.
Earlier in the day at the quarter-final stage, Jeong Sangeun, who stands in the way of Lee Sangsu repeating his Ahmedabad finish, had beaten the host nation’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.6 seed (11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8), the 14 year old having on the opening day caused a sensation by overcoming 21 year old Fan Zhendong (11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8); surely the first time in his career that the young man who heads the world rankings had lost to a younger player in an international tournament.
A quarter-final reverse for Tomokazu Harimoto when facing a lower ranked player but very soon he was back on court, back to winning ways and back to upsetting the global order. In the contests to determine places no.5 to no.8, he accounted for Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.3 seed (11-8, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6) and now meets colleague, Koki Niwa in the determining contest. Most impressively Koki Niwa, the no.5 seed, accounted for Iran’s Nima Alamian, the no.13 seed (11-9, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9).
The results mean that although it is the top three names who are guaranteed places in the Liebherr 2018 Men’s World Cup to be staged later this year in Paris, Lee Sangsu, Jeong Sangeun, Tomokazu Harimoto and Koki Niwa are realistically assured of invitations by virtue of their finish in Yokohama and their potential world ranking later in the year.
Proceedings conclude on Sunday 8th April.