by Ian Marshall, Editor
Success against Singapore’s Gerald Yu Zong Ju, the no.21 seed (11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8), Kay Stumper continued his fine form to reserve his semi-final place by overcoming Singapore’s Josh Chua Shao Han, the no.11 seed (11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 6-11, 11-9), the player who in the previous round had caused what was arguably the biggest shock of the tournament to date.
He beat Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun, the no.2 seed (11-6, 12-10, 6-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8).
Progress to the semi-final stage for the 15 year old German and into the lion’s den; the other three places all reserved by China. Xu Haidong, the top seed, progressed as anticipated but both Liu Yebo and Niu Guankai advanced by upsetting the order of merit. However, neither could be considered surprise semi-finalists; one month earlier Liu Yebo was the runner up on home soil in Taicang; Niu Guankai was a semi-finalist at the 2017 World Junior Championships.
Xu Haidong booked his penultimate round place by overcoming Japan’s Hiroto Shinozuka, the no.9 seed (11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9); Niu Guankai, the no.10 seed, after accounting for Japan’s Takeru Kashiwa, the no.4 seed (8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5) recorded a quarter-final win against Frenchman, Dorian Zheng, the no.18 seed (6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9).
Similarly, not to be upstaged, Liu Yebo caused a second round upset. He beat Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen, the no.3 seed (11-5, 13-11, 9-11, 11-3, 5-11, 11-9), prior to ousting Germany’s Meng Fanbo, the no.7 seed (6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 12-10, 11-2).
At the semi-final stage Xu Haidong meets Niu Guankai; Liu Yebo opposes Kay Stumper.
Three players in the penultimate round of the Junior Boys’ Singles event contrary to seeding; in the Junior Boys’ Doubles it was three pairs.
Niu Guankai in partnership with Xiang Peng, the no.4 seeds, duly reserved their semi-final position as status advised but there was no such place for their colleagues, Liu Yebo and Xu Haidong, the top seeds. They experienced a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Japan’s Kazuki Hamada and Hiroto Shinozuka, the no.6 seeds (11-6, 5-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-9).
Likewise, there was a shock exit for the combination of Meng Fanbo and Pang Yew En Koen, the no.2 seeds; they were beaten in round two by Hong Kong’s Maurice Chong Kai Ning and Su Zhi, the no.9 seeds (12-14, 11-8, 11-9, 13-11). Impressively, they duly reserved their last four place by overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yung-Chih and Tai Ming-Wei, the no.8 seeds (11-1, 11-9, 11-6).
Second round farewells, for Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun and Supakron Pankhaoyoy, the no.3 seeds, it was a quarter-final adios; they lost to Kay Stumper and Dorian Zheng (11-4, 11-5, 11-5).
Kay Stumper and Dorian Zheng now meet Kazuki Hamada and Hiroto Shinozuka; Maurice Kai Ning Chong and Su Zhi face Niu Guankai and Xiang Peng.
Play in Hong Kong concludes on Sunday 5th August.