by Ian Marshall, Editor
Ma Te may not have the pedigree of Ma Long but a defender, he is most worthy opponent, having in the opening round beaten Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura, the no.12 seed and a player with two ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles titles to his credit.
Likewise, for Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the top seed, he also faces an aspiring adversary from China and like Ma Te a player with a different style to the current norm; he confronts Zheng Peifeng, a right handed pen-holder.
Opportunities for young players but in the second of the Men’s Singles event, one match that catches is the eye is a contest in which the players ages add up to 79 years; Chinese Taipei’s 37 year old Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.6 seed, faces 42 year old Vladimir Samsonov, the no.10 seed.
Both are players who have won ITTF World Tour titles as have the leading names in second round action. China’s Xu Xin, the no.2 seed, opposes Japanese qualifier Yuya Oshima, the latter’s colleague, 15 year old Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.4 seed, confronts Frenchman, Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.13 seed.
Opportunities for players who started proceedings in the qualification tournament and caused first round upsets; it is the same in the second round of the Women’s Singles event. Undoubtedly the player facing the toughest task is Wen Jia, she confronts Chinese national team colleague, the redoubtable Ding Ning, the no.7 seed, the reigning Olympic and World champion.
Most certainly a tough task, for her colleagues; the contests are rather more on an even keel. Wang Yidi faces Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.15 seed, a player who this year has a very special record against Chinese opposition. She is the only player on 2018 ITTF World Junior Circuit to beat China’s Shu Xunyao, the young lady who currently heads the Under 18 Girls’ World Ranking.
An enthralling contest, it is the same for Liu Gaoyang who meets fellow qualifier, Italy’s Li Xiang, as it is for Liu Xi who opposes Germany’s Han Ying, the no.14 seed.
Meanwhile, for the leading names on second round Women’s Singles duty, all from Japan, most worthy opponents await. Kasumi Ishikawa, the top seed, faces Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, Miu Hirano, the no.3 seed, confronts German qualifier, Nina Mittelham; in an all defenders battle, Hitomi Sato, the no.4 seed opposes Honoka Hashimoto.
Adversaries in the Women’s Singles event Hitomi Sato and Honoka Hashimoto are together in the Women’s Doubles competition; the top seeds, at the quarter-final stage they oppose Poland’s Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc and Natalia Partyka, the no.6 seeds.
Likewise Japan holds the no.2 seeded position in the Women’s Doubles competition; Hina Hayata and Miu Hirano face the host nation’s Kalina Hristova and Ivet Ilieva, the no.8 seeds.
Also, in the Men’s Doubles quarter-finals, Japan is very much to the fore. Mssataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, the top seeds, oppose qualifiers Zheng Peifeng and Chinese colleague Zhu Linfeng.
A notable Chinese pair, in the adjacent half of the draw appears the most notable of all, Ma Long and Xu Xin, the no. 2 seeds, oppose the Czech Republic’s Lubomir Pistej and David Reitspies.
The second round of the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events will be played to completion on Friday 17th August, as will the quarter and semi-finals of the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles competitions.