by Ian Marshall, Editor
However, there is both a difference and a potential similarity.
The difference is that this year the tournament is staged in Daejeon, as opposed to Incheon, the city on the outskirts of the capital, Seoul, where Xu Xin has always reached the final. The similarity is that the opponent in the final has always been a national team colleague and two of those names appear on this year’s entry list.
There is no Ma Long whom he beat in the 2013 and 2016 final but both Zhang Jike and Fang Bo are present; he lost to Zhang Jike in the 2012 title decider before two years later securing the top step of the podium at the expense of Fang Bo.
Two formers winners on view and there are three more. Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, now recovered from injury, is the top seed; very much in a rehabilitation stage, he won in Incheon in 2011 when beating the host nation’s Lee Sangsu in the final. Similarly, Japan’s Jun Mizutani succeeded in 2009 when accounting for China’s Hao Shuai, before in an all Korean affair Jeoung Youngsik defeated Joo Saehyuk in the 2015 final.
In Daejeon, Jun Mizutani is the no.10 seed; like Fang Bo and Zhang Jike, Jeoung Youngsik must qualify. Lee Sangsu is the no.5 seed, whilst Germany’s Patrick Franziska, beaten in the final last year by colleague, Timo Boll and the one other player on duty who has been an ITTF World Tour Korea Open finalist, is the no.16 seed.
China’s Lin Gaoyuan is the no.2 seed, Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting is the no.4 seed; neither has ever reached the Men’s Singles final in Korea. It is the same for Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.7 seed as it is for Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the next names on the list.
Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira and Chinese Taipei Chuang Chih-Yuan complete the top 12 names. They are followed by Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, Japan’s Jin Ueda and Korea’s Lim Jonghoon.