by Ian Marshall, Editor
Listed at no.320 on the current Men’s World Rankings, Viachaslev Burov beat Croatia’s Andrej Gacina; at no.42, the highest rated player on duty in the qualification competition. In a closely fought contest, the Russian emerged successful in seven games (11-3, 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6).
Similarly, Takuya Jin succeeded in a closely contested full distance duel; accepted he beat a player he knows well in the guise of colleague Yuya Oshima (11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8), nevertheless it was quite an upset.
Standing at no.32 on the current Men’s World Rankings, Yuya Oshima has two ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles titles to his credit. He won in the Philippines in 2015 and the following year in Sweden. Moreover, he is a player in form; last week in Bulgaria he reached the second round of the Men’s Singles event. He came the closest in the whole tournament to beating China’s Xu Xin. He extended the eventual champion the full seven games. Occupying the no.428 spot on the Men’s World Rankings, it is a curriculum vitae with which Takuya Jin cannot compare.
Impressive wins; one must acknowledge the effort of China’s Zhang Yudong, new to the international scene, no world ranking, in the second preliminary round of the Men’s Singles event, he beat England’s Paul Drinkhall, listed at no.90. He won in six games (3-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-3, 11-3, 11-6).
A fine performance but arguably the performance of the round was that enacted by Tobias Hippler. Named at no.492 on the current Men’s World Rankings, he beat Slovakia’s Wang Yang, listed at no.84 in five games (11-9, 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6). Not only did the gap of over 400 places in the global order contribute to the win being a major upset, honed in the Chinese school of excellence, the backspin play extolled by Wang Yang combined with a fearsome forehand, has caused European players a plethora of headaches over the years.
“I often practise against defenders and therefore I enjoy playing against defence. Still he was the favourite in this match but you know that if his game fits for you; it’s easier to get a rhythm in a match. It was not an easy match. I also feel like he did not play his top level, because this was his first match. Surely, this was my best win according to the ranking list. He is the best player I’ve beaten so far. Hopefully there are more wins to come.” Tobias Hippler.
In the third preliminary round, play in the Men’s Singles qualification tournament being organised on a knock-out basis, Tobias Hippler faces Pavel Platonov of Belarus, Zhang Yudong confronts Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri. Meanwhile, Viachaslev Burov opposes Martin Allegro; Takuya Jin plays Mexico’s Marcos Madrid.
The Men’s Singles qualification tournament comprises four rounds and concludes on Wednesday 22nd August.