by Ian Marshall, Editor
It is on Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto that the spotlight very much shines; the defending champion and no.2 seed in the Men’s Singles event, he renews acquaintances with Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.10 seed. The pair met last week in Bulgaria at the quarter-final stage with Tomokazu Harimoto emerging successful in six games.
Equally the name of Tomokazu Harimoto is prominent in the Men’s Doubles event and one wonders if there could be an upset in the offing. Partnering Yuto Kizukuri, the no.5 seeds, at the quarter-final stage, they meet the combination of Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the top seeds. They are the defending champions and the best of friends. Let’s hope that is the same situation at the end of the day; they meet each other in the Men’s Singles opening round.
Meanwhile, for Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the top seed, in the second round of the Men’s Singles event, Korea Republic’s Park Ganghyeon awaits; for colleagues Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther the no.2 Men’s Doubles seeds, at the quarter-final stage, they oppose Poland’s Marek Badowski and Patryk Zatowka.
Eyes on Tomokazu Harimoto, eyes are very much focused on Japan; also in the Men’s Singles competition, Maharu Yoshimura, the no.11 seed, faces Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.4 seed and winner four years ago. Meanwhile, for Mizuki Oikawa, the first round winner against colleague, Koki Niwa, China’s Zheng Peifeng lies in wait.
Similarly, in the Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles events Japan is very much in focus. In the former, Kasumi Ishikawa, the top seed, meets colleague, Honoka Hashimoto, the no.9 seed; Mima Ito, the no.2 seed, opposes China’s Liu Gaoyang, a semi-finalist last week in Bulgaria. Similarly, Miu Hirano, the no.3 seed, is involved in an all Japanese affair; she plays Miyu Nagasaki.
Worthy opponents for the players from the Land of the Rising Sun; at the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Doubles event, it is just the same. Hina Hayata and Miu Hirano, the top seeds, face China’s Chen Ke and Wang Yidi, the no.7 seeds; Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito, the no.2 seeds, oppose Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs, the no.8 seeds.
A day to match the first full of upsets, it could well happen; watch this space.