by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The name of Cho Daeseong was to be anticipated, he was the no.2 seed; impressively he accounted for Chinese qualifiers Yan Sheng (6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-4) and Li Zhi (11-9, 11-6, 11-4).
Conversely the progress of Choi Inhyeok and Hwang Minha was not necessarily to be envisaged, both had been required to compete in the qualification tournament; in the main draw they upset the odds.
Choi Inhyeok accounted for Qatar’s Mohammed Abdulwahhab, the no.10 seed (8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-5), prior to overcoming Frenchman, Bastien Rembert (11-6, 11-6, 11-8), the player who in the opening round had beaten the host nation’s Pattaratorn Passara, the no.6 seed (11-1, 14-12, 11-9).
Hard fought success followed by a less demanding encounter; it was the same for Hwang Minha. He beat India’s Ronit Bhanja, the no.13 seed (11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-5), before ending the hopes of Australia’s Lin Xuqi, the no.4 seed (11-8, 11-6, 11-5).
A second round defeat for the fourth seed; for top seed and the third seed it was a first round exit.
Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the name at head of the list, was beaten by India’s Siddesh Pande (8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-8, 12-10) who in the very next round suffered at the hands of fellow qualifier, Chinese Taipei’s Lai Chi-Chien (11-6, 6-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5).
“It was good match against Siddesh; his forehand was stronger than his backhand so I tried to play more to his backhand. I think my service and my forehand were my strong points this match.” Lai Chi-Chien
Similarly, Germany’s Tobias Hippler, the no.3 seed, experienced defeat when facing Chinese Taipei’s Hu Chung-Wen (8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-8, 12-10), a player who on his next visit to the table was beaten by Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun, the no.12 seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-3).
At the quarter-final stage Lai Chi-Chien meets Choi Inhyeok; Yanapong Panagitgun opposes Japan’s Yuta Tanaka the no.5 seed. The 17 year old from the Land of the Rising Sun booked his last eight place courtesy of success against qualifiers, Korea’s Hwang Min (11-7, 11-5, 11-5) and Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen (11-5, 11-2, 11-7).
Meanwhile, in the lower half of the draw, Hwang Minha faces Japan’s Yukiya Uda, the no.14 seed; Cho Daeseong opposes India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, the no.8 seed.
Yukiya Uda booked his quarter-final place by beating Hong Kong’s Su Zhi (11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8) and India’s Jeet Chandra (10-12, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8), the first round winner in opposition to Hong Kong’s Kwan Man Ho, the no.7 seed (13-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7). Imposing performances, it was the same from Manav Vikash Thakkar, he accounted for China’s Zhang Haonan (11-4, 11-2, 11-8) and Japan’s Kohei Sambe, the no.9 seed (8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-3) to keep his medal hopes alive and well.
The Under 21 Men’s Singles event will be played to a conclusion on Saturday 19th May.