by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Presently listed at no.168 on the Men’s World Rankings, owing to an absence from the international scene, Zhang Jike accounted for Italy’s Niagol Stoyanov, named at no.107 in six games (11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 14-12, 5-11, 12-10).
Success for Zhang Jike but in the pecking order of causing surprises, Ma Te headed the list; he overcame Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An, presently named at no.33 on the current Men’s World Rankings and at the time of entry at no.30, the highest rated in the qualification tournament. In a tense encounter Ma Te prevailed in seven games (11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10).
Upsetting the odds, it was the same from Zhou Kai, listed at no.376 in the global order, he overcame Ukraine’s Kou Lei, listed at no.30 (11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 11-1).
Likewise, possessors of no current world ranking, Zhu Linfeng beat Romania’s Hunor Szocs (11-4, 11-3, 11-8, 11-4), Zhou Qihao ended the hopes of Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko (11-9, 11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 7-11, 11-7). Currently on the Men’s World Rankings, Hunor Szocs is at no.93, Kirill Gerassimenko even higher, he is at no.36.
Similarly, Zhou Yu was not to be left out; ranked no.96, he beat Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic named at no.78 (10-12, 11-3, 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4) to maintain his progress.
Notable wins but perhaps the most notable of all was that achieved by the defensive skills of Hou Yingchao, he beat Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik, presently ranked no.55 and a player who is surely accustomed to playing against those who extol the backspin art; Joo Saehyuk is a member of the same national team. Ever defender is different, it is a well-worn phrase and one which again proved true, Hou Yingchao emerged successful in five games (11-4, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-1).
Play in the qualification tournament concludes later in the day.