by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The quarter-final line up witnessed a host of unexpected names; none more so than that of Hong Kong’s Su Zhi, a player who competed in the 2012 China Junior and Cadet Open but since that date has been absent from the international scene.
No current world ranking, after accounting for Korea’s Park Gyeongtae (13-11, 6-11, 14-16, 11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8), he beat India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, the top seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-5, 11-13, 12-10), prior to reserving his place in the round of the last eight by overcoming China’s Yu Heyi, the no.10 seed (11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7). Notably some two weeks ago, Yu Heyi had won the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the French Junior and Cadet Open.
A major surprise, similarly, Kuang Ki, Quan Kaiyuan and Xiang Peng, all like Yu Heyi from China, upset the order of merit.
Kuang Li booked his quarter-final place courtesy of success against Frenchman Irvin Bertrand, the no.3 seed (11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-1, 11-5); Quan Kaiyuan, after ousting Frenchman, Jules Rolland, the no.5 seed, in round two, beat Korea’s Nam Seongbeen (11-9, 11-13, 11-3, 14-12, 11-5) to reserve his last eight place.
Meanwhile, after recording a second round win in opposition India’s Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the no.8 seed (11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 11-4), Xiang Peng accounted for Japan’s Shota Hoshi (11-5, 11-8, 14-12, 11-7) to keep his hopes of a podium finish alive.
Unexpected quarter-finalists, it was very much the same for Leo de Nodrest and for Lilian Bardet. Leo de Nodrest who started proceedings as the no.11 seed, beat Korea’s Woo Hyeonggyu (12-10, 9-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6, 12-10), the second round winner in opposition to Iran’s Amin Ahmadian (6-11, 14-16, 12-10, 11-5, 11-13, 11-9, 11-5). Somewhat similarly, Lilian Bardet, belied his no.15 seeded position; he ended the hopes of the host nation in round three by overcoming Yanapong Panagitgun, the no.7 seed (11-5, 14-12, 12-14, 5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9).
Upsets galore but two players did book quarter-final places as status advised; in the third round Xu Yingbin, the no.2 seed, overcame India’s Snehit Suravajjula (11-6, 11-5, 11-1, 5-11, 11-5), Bastien Rembert, the no.4 seed, accounted for Singapore’s Park Yew En Koen (11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-6).
At the quarter-final stage; in the top half of the draw Su Zhi meets Quan Kaiyuan, Leo de Nodrest opposes Kuang Li. In the opposite half of the draw it is Bastien Rembert versus Xiang Peng, Lilian Bardet in opposition to Xu Yingbin.
Play in Bangkok concludes on Sunday 13th May.