by Ian Marshall, Editor
Defeat for one ITTF World Tour winner; there was defeat for another; Germany’s Ricardo Walther, the winner in Croatia in 2014, was beaten by Korea Republic’s An Jaehyun (4-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-3. 11-8).
Success for An Jaehyun, as with Andrea Landrieu, it meant first place in the group at the expense of the highest rated player. It was the same for the former’s colleague Kim Minhyeok who beat Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting (11-6, 13-15, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7), as it was for DPR Korea’s Pak Sin Hyok. He overcame Kim Donghyun, like An Jaehyun from Korea Republic (11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 11-4, 11-3).
Similarly, Chinese Taipei’s Peng Wang-Wei accounted for Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej (7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6); whilst Yuki Matsuyama ended the hopes of Sweden’s Anton Källberg (5-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7).
Wins against the highest rated player in the group, it was the same for three players from the People’s Republic of China. The win recorded by Zhou Kai against Germany’s Benedikt Duda did raise the eyebrows (11-6, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6); the successes posted by Zhang Jike and Yan An certainly did not cause gasps of surprise. Yan An beat Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri (11-1, 11-7, 9-11, 6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4); Zhang Jike defeated India’s Harmeet Desai (11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7).
“My form doesn’t really matter, what is important is that I treat every match seriously. There are many people in the arena thus it is rather noisy; maybe for myself, I will need to focus and make adjustments accordingly. After all, every opponent has their strengths. If, like in the previous game when I found myself behind, I will just need to calm down and not get to excited.” Zhang Jike
First places contrary to seeding, close calls but no-one secured top spot against the odds more narrowly than Amalraj Anthony, like Harmeet Desai from India.
In his concluding group stage match he lost to Iran’s Nima Alamian, the leading name in the group; he experienced defeat in six games (11-8, 11-7, 13-11, 8-11, 7-11, 12-10), the same margin by which he had beaten Korea Republic’s Choi Deokhwa the previous day (11-9, 11-3, 10-12, 12-10, 6-11, 11-6). It was also the same distance by which Choi Deokhwa had overcome Nima Alamian (9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4, 11-6).
Level on match ratio, level on games ratio, points ratio decided; it was first place for Amalraj Anthony (129:113) with Choi Deokhwa second (114:110) and Nima Alamian third (111:121).
It could hardly have been closer, a reminder, every point counts.