by Simon Daish
Upsets were apparent right from the word go on day two with Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Spain’s Alvaro Robles securing a stunning five games victory over reigning World Champions Ma Long and Xu Xin (11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 4-11, 12-10) to book their place in the Men’s Doubles final.
The mixed nationality duo will meet Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan in the title match after the host nation pairing saw off the Korean partnership of Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon in dramatic style (11-5, 6-11, 3-11, 11-6, 14-12).
Both Women’s Doubles semi-finals encounters featured mini-comebacks: Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun accounted for Japan’s Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa by the narrowest of margins (11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10) while the other Japanese partnership bidding for a spot in the final, Hina Hayata and Mima Ito, lost out to China’s Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling (11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6).
Beginning the day well with a positive result in the Women’s Doubles competition but Zhu Yuling’s day concluded in disappointing fashion, exiting the Women’s Singles event in the last 16 after surrendering a commanding lead against Japan’s Saki Shibata (5-11, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5) while the likes of Sun Yingsha and Wu Yang also suffered early exits.
Germany’s Han Ying enjoyed a perfect day out in Shenzhen: she registered back-to-back straight games victories over Chen Szu-Yu (11-6, 11-7, 11-3, 11-7) and Chen Xingtong (11-7, 11-4, 11-5, 11-8) to set up a quarter-finals meeting with Wang Manyu.
Two quarter-finals contests were also hosted on day two as Ding Ning and Saki Shibata prevailed against Hitomi Sato (11-7, 11-3, 11-7 ,11-5) and Jeon Jihee (17-15, 15-13, 7-11, 12-10, 11-5), booking a head-to-head semi-finals battle at the summit of the draw in the process.
Hearts were broken in the Men’s Singles tournament as local favourite Zhang Jike suffered elimination in his opening round encounter with Japanese teenage star Tomokazu Harimoto (11-8, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6). However, Zhang Jike’s exit was somewhat avenged later in the day as fellow countryman Lin Gaoyuan halted Harimoto’s progress in the Round of 16 (11-2, 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 11-4).
While we may have witnessed the departure of one of China’s longstanding table tennis legends, we also saw the arrival of a new star as Liang Jingkun successfully sealed his spot in the quarter-finals. Unseeded for the event in Shenzhen, Liang Jingkun backed up his straight games win against No.9 seed Simon Gauzy (11-3, 11-2, 11-9, 11-9) with an outstanding display against second seed Timo Boll (5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-5).
Jun Mizutani and Koki Niwa survived close scares, defeating Wong Chun Ting (11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9) and Liam Pitchford (11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-13, 10-12, 11-9) while Lim Jonghoon extended his amazing run to book his place in the last eight where he will meet fellow Korea Republic representative Lee Sangsu.