by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The win underlines the quite rapid progress that Kazuhiro Yoshimura has made in the past month; on the world rankings for May, he was named at no.106, he is now at no.75 and if present form continues in Kitakyushu, he is set to climb higher.
A performance to attract the attention but if one player attracted the attention more than any other it was China’s Zhang Jike. Furthermore he delivered the goods against an opponent who the previous week in Shenzhen had caused China a host of problems by beating Fang Bo. He beat Chinese Taipei’s 16 year old Lin Yun-Ju in five games (13-11, 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9).
“Our rallies were not very long but I think I controlled it quite well. I’ve heard many things of my opponent, that despite being a young 16 year old, he has defeated other Chinese players in the past. So I definitely prepared well against his more threatening qualities, such as his backhand and service.” Zhang Jike
Not the best of times for Chinese Taipei but there was one positive note as play commenced in the Men’s Singles final qualification round. Presently listed at no.144 in the global order, Chiang Hung-Chieh accounted for Korea’s Cho Seungmin, named at no.40 and the player Kazuhiro Yoshimura had beaten in the final in Hong Kong. Chiang Hung-Chieh emerged successful in six games (8-11, 11-8, 14-12, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6).
Defeat for the highest rated player on qualification stage duty as the final preliminary round commenced; for the other leading names it was success.
Korea’s Jang Woojin beat Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang (11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-2), Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia overcame Hung Hzu-Hsiang, like Chiang Hung-Chieh from Chinese Taipei (11-2, 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-1).
However, the performance of note was that of Germany’s Benedikt Duda; he accounted for China’s Liu Dingshuo, currently listed at a lowly no.169 on the world rankings, a position that belies his quality. In 2014 he was the winner on the ITTF World Tour in Brazil; the following year in La Roche sur Yon, he was crowned World Junior champion.
Benedikt Duda prevailed in six games (12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 14-16, 11-6).