by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Timo Boll proved too experienced for the host nation’s 17 year old Yuta Tanaka (13-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-7); there was to be no Shenzhen repeat.
“I did not play well at all in this match; I am surprised I won four-nil. My concentration and moving was very bad. In the head I was not feeling so positive, so I am surprised that I was able to win the close games. It has been a busy few months, so I need to have a rest.” Timo Boll
Need for a rest, for Zhang Jike, it very much returning to action after a rest, beaten the previous week by Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto; in Kitakyushu it would seem that the former Olympic and World champion is finding his feet. After a somewhat slow start, he found a rhythm to his play and eventually proved too fast for Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.11 seed (7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8).
Defeats for two seeded players in the guise of Wong Chun Ting and Jonathan Groth; there were defeats for three more. Most notably, Koki Niwa, the no.5 seed, suffered at the hands of in-form colleague, Kazuhiro Yoshimura (9-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7); Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson, the no.10 seed, lost to Germany’s Benedikt Duda (12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-7). Likewise, Korea Republic’s Jeoung Sangeun, the no.15 seed, departed at the hands of China’s Zhou Yu (12-10, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6).
Success for Zhou Yu, as anticipated there was success for colleague Ma Long, the no.2 seed; he beat Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Hung-Chieh (11-2, 11-6, 11-2, 11-1).
Emphatic from Ma Long; it was also impressive from Lee Sangsu, the no.4 seed, he defeated Lim Jonghoon (11-7, 11-8, 13-11, 11-13, 11-5) and thus reversed the decision of the previous week when at the quarter-final stage in Shenzhen he had been beaten by his Korea Republic colleague in four straight games (11-9, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6).
Meanwhile, for the remaining leading names, with the exception of Wong Chun Ting and Koki Niwa, the first round hurdle was negotiated; Japan being very much to the fore and the Korea Republic the nation to suffer. Only Lee Sangsu remained.
Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.6 seed, accounted for Jang Woojin (11-9, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6); Kenta Matsudaira, the no.8 seed, defeated Hwang Minha (11-8, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8). Following suit Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no. 7 seed, ended the hopes of Jeoung Youngsik (11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 3-11, 6-11, 11-4).
The second round of the Men’s Singles event commences later in the evening.