by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
In a tense encounter decided by the minimal margin, Zhang Jike who had been required to compete in the two day qualification tournament, was beaten by Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura (11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 13-15, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9); the success for Maharu Yoshimura coming some two hours after compatriot Kasumi Ishikawa, had suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Korean qualifier, Lee Eunhye (11-6, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6).
Defeat for Zhang Jike but he was not the only notable name to depart in the opening round of the Men’s Singles event; Kenta Matsudaira, the no.3 seed and also from Japan, suffered at the hands of Korea’s Jang Woojin (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7).
Upsets but not for other leading names; Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the top seed, beat Austria’s Daniel Habesohn (11-7, 13-11, 14-12, 12-10), Korea’s Lee Sangsu, the no.2 seed, recovered from the brink of defeat in the sixth game to end the hopes of China’s Zhu Linfeng (4-11, 11-4, 13-11, 10-12, 7-11, 15-13, 11-5). Less dramatically, Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.4 seed, defeated Germany’s Benedikt Duda (11-8, 4-11, 11-5, 11-8, 15-13).
Meanwhile, in the Women’s Singles event, with the exception of Kasumi Ishikawa, the leading names negotiated the opening round.
Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.2 seed, overcame Japan’s Miyu Nagasaki (7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6), China’s Wang Manyu, the no.3 seed, beat colleague Gu Yuting (11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9). Similarly, Japan’s Miu Hirano, the no.4 seed, overcame Korea’s Choi Hyojoo (11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10), whilst former world number one, also from China, Liu Shiwen, the no.7 seed, sounded warning bells. She accounted for Lee Zion, like Choi Hyojoo from Korea (11-6, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6).
Success for the top seeds, it was the same in the opening round of the Men’s Doubles event. Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu beat former European champions, Austria’s Robert Gardos and Daniel Habeshon (11-9, 9-11, 15-13, 11-8). Likewise, Japan’s Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura, the no.2 seeds, made an ideal start; they accounted for the combination of Ukraine’s Kou Lei and Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck (11-7, 11-6, 11-4).
However, in the first round of the Women’s Doubles competition, life was somewhat different. Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito, the top seeds, accounted for the pairing formed by Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin and Canada’s Zhang Mo (9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8). Alas for Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the no.2 seeds, it was defeat. They suffered at the hands of 13 year old Miyuu Kihara and 15 years of age Miyu Nagasaki, like Mima Ito and Hina Hayata from Japan. A four games verdict (11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7) was the outcome.