by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Hand skills par excellence, only 15 years old, Cho Daeseong, the no.19 seed, beat Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.2 seed (11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-8); the win coming less than an hour after Xu Ruifeng, who had been required to compete in the qualification tournament, accounted for Harmeet Desai, the no.4 seed (11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 11-6).
Desolation for India but there was a saving grace; 18 year old Manav Vikash Thakkar upheld his country’s honour. Like Xu Ruifeng a qualifier, he caused an upset of substance by beating Chinese Taipei’s Peng Wang-Wei, the no.18 seed (11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 15-13, 11-7).
Surprise outcomes and there were plenty more as the second round of the Men’s Singles event progressed.
In the top half of the draw, in addition to Xu Ruifeng, four qualifiers beat seeded adversaries. Hong Kong’s Su Zhi overcame Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the no.8 seed (12-10, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6, 11-8); Russia’s Fedor Kuzmin accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Sun Chia-Hung, the no.9 seed (13-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8).
“I don’t think it was my best performance because I have played many matches. I also played in the Junior and Cadet tournament before this; I think I need to train more to increase my stamina. I think I was able to win my matches today because I always try to keep a calm and stable mind.” Su Zhi
Similarly, Korea’s Baek Hogyun defeated the host nation’s Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon (9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9); Japan’s Hokuto Koriyama overcame Japan’s Yukiya Uda, the no.17 seed (11-2, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8).
In fact in the top half of the draw only three seeds remain; Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko, Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa and Chinese Taipei’s Yang Heng-Wei.
Both Kirill Gerassimenko and Mizuki Oikawa overcame colleagues of Yang Heng-Wei; Kirill Gerassimenko, the no.1 seed, beat qualifier, Feng Yi-Hsin (12-10, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9), Mizuli Oikawa, the no.7 seed, defeated Yang Tzu-Yi, the no.21 seed (17-19, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8).
Meanwhile, in the lower half of the draw, in addition to Manav Vikash Thakkar, two further players required to compete in the qualification tournament reserved third round places but without causing notable upsets. They accounted for players who likewise had been required to compete in the preliminary group phase.
Frenchman Bastien Rembert accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chin Mao-Cheng (11-9, 11-3, 11-7, 11-8); Japan’s Hibiki Tazoe overcame Korea’s Choi Inhyeok (11-8, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6).
Likewise, in the opposite half of the draw there were surprises both caused by Japan; Takuya Jin, the no.24 seed, beat Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, the no.11 seed (11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8), Kohei Sambe, the no.30 seed, ousted colleague Kenta Tazoe, the no.6 seed (11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 12-10, 12-10).
Upsets, in the remaining two matches in the lower half of the draw, it was progress as status predicted; Japan’s Masataka Morizono, the no.3 seed, beat Korean qualifier Kim Daewoo (14-12, 11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4), Chinese Taipei’s Hung Tzu-Hsiang, the no.12 seed, ended the aspirations of colleague Wang Tai-Wei, the no.31 seed (11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8).
A day of uncertainty, the end result is that of those players seeded to reach the round of the last 16, only five succeeded: Kirill Gerassimenko, Masataka Morizono, Mizuki Oikawa, Hung Tzu-Hsiang and Yang Heng-Wei.