by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Impressively, Wang Chuqin, the runner up earlier this year on the ITTF World Tour in Hungary when beaten by colleague Fan Zhendong, succeeded in five games (14-12, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6). Notably on the current Men’s World Rankings, Wang Chuqin is listed at no.137, Noshad Alamiyan at no.59.
Success for Wang Chuqin but he was not the only aspiring young player to attract the attention as play commenced in Shenzhen; colleagues Zhou Kai and Xue Fei also caught the eye.
Both players who have enjoyed success at World Junior Championships ended the hopes of worthy Japanese adversaries. Zhou Kai a member of the gold medal winning team in 2013 in Rabat, beat Mizuki Oikawa (14-12, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6); Xue Fei, the Boys’ Singles winner last year in Riva del Garda, accounted for Masaki Yoshida (11-7, 13-11, 7-11, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10).
Impressive from three host nation aspiring players, it was the same from two teenagers from foreign shores who in the next decade may well prove the biggest challenge to Chinese excellence. Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Korea’s Cho Daeseong both emerged successful against adversaries of note.
Lin Yun-Ju, 16 year old, beat Sweden’s Elias Ranefur (11-4, 7-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6); Cho Daeseong, only 15 years of age, accounted for colleague Kim Donghyun, the winner in Bulgaria in 2015 (11-3, 11-3, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6). Contests between colleagues may never be a true reflection of status but on the current Men’s World Rankings, Cho Daeseong is at no.262, Kim Donghyun at no.80; there is a marked difference.
Equally, there were impressive performances from five further players just slightly more senior on the age scale. Korea’s Hwang Minha and An Jaehyun, both 19 years old excelled as did the 21 year olds Slovenia’s Deni Kozul, Chinese Taipei’s Yang Heng-Wei and Kim Minyeok, also from Korea. All beat higher rated adversaries.
Hwang Minha overcame Portugal’s João Monteiro (9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6); An Jaehyun accounted for Belgium’s Robin Devos (8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 13-11, 7-11, 11-7).
Meanwhile, Slovenia’s Deni Kozul overcame Hong Kong’s Ng Pak Nam (10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 14-12, 11-5), Chinese Taipei’s Yang-Wei ended the hopes of Japan’s Kenta Tazoe (7-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9).
Notably, Kim Minhyeok defeated the man in form colleague, Cho Seungmin (11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-2), the runner up last week in Hong Kong.