by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Half the age of his adversary, Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.12 seed, emerged successful in four straight games (11-8, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6) against the man who has won all the world’s major titles on offer and whom one day he hopes to emulate.
“I’m really excited to win. I never thought I could win for four-nil. I am really happy with the result. I feel I played well today.” Tomokazu Harimoto
Success for Tomokazu Harimoto on what proved an early evening of differing fortunes for Japan as the opening round of the Men’s Singles event came to a close. Jun Mizutani, the no.10 seed, beat Germany’s Patrick Franziska (11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3); conversely Yuya Oshima lost to Korea’s Lee Sangsu, the no.7 seed (14-12, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11). Meanwhile, contrary to expectations, Kenta Matsudaira, the no.13 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of the host nation’s Wang Chuqin (12-10, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4).
A place in round two of the Men’s Singles event against the odds for Wang Chuqin; in a similar vein, Liang Jingkun, a young man who excelled in the 2016 China Super League, raised the eyebrows. He accounted for Frenchman, Simon Gauzy, the no.9 seed (11-3, 11-2, 11-9, 11-9).
“I thought I didn’t play well. My opponent caught up with me and took the lead after the first game; then I lost the second and third games. I wasn’t fully prepared and his rhythm was unpredictable. I calmed down and successfully won the match.” Wang Chuqin
“I was able to get into the zone quickly. I was well prepared and I was able to adapt.” Liang Jingkun.
Impressive from Liang Jingkun, it was the same from his illustrious compatriots, Ma Long, the no.5 seed and Lin Gaoyuan, the no.4 seed. Ma Long beat Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju (11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5); Lin Gaoyuan ended the hopes of Korea Republic’s Jeong Sangeun (11-3, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6).
“I thought I played well today. Having played two matches before this, I was able to get into the zone faster. Also, I made some adjustments in my strategy to counter my opponent, that’s why it went well for me. I have a match tonight and need to make the best use of the time to rest; this match was quite energy consuming, I was barely in control in the final game. I will need to use this time to recover.” Lin Gaoyuan
Defeat for Lin Yun-Ju only 16 years old and a great hope for the future but for Chinese Taipei’s most experienced of all, 37 year old Chuang Chih-Yuan, it was opening round Men’s Singles success. The no.15 seed, he beat Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-3).
Play in the second round of the Men’s Singles event takes place later in the day.