by Ian Marshall, Editor
Success, it was another contest that underlined the level at which the 21 year old is capable of playing.
Earlier this year in July at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Korean Open in Daejeon, he progressed to the main draw, notably beating China’s Fang Bo (11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 13-11) en route. In the opening round, he experienced defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, after holding match point in the sixth game (3-11, 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10, 12-10).
Furthermore, some three months earlier in Zagreb, he had progressed to the semi-final stage of the Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Croatia Open, he was beaten in six games by Germany’s Ricardo Walther (11-3, 7-11, 14-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8).
A major feature of the contest against Kenta Matsudaira was his backhand, especially when returning service; ever since Jean-Philippe Gatien appeared on the scene, the left hander with an electric forehand top spin has been the “French Way”, not a bad method, it made Jean-Philippe Gatien World champion and more recently Emmanuel Lebesson, European champion. Equally, Christophe Legout enjoyed success in the same vein.
“Today I put the focus on myself; Kenta is a good player. I had to limit his opportunities; I feel I played well and I think as the match progressed he lost confidence.” Can Akkuzu
Kenta Matsudaira is renowned for his range of innovative services; that aspect of his play was nullified by the Frenchman.
“I feel confident returning service with my backhand, using the banana return. I was able to limit him, I was able to impose my game on him; having beaten Fang Fo, held a match point against Chuang Chih-Yuan and now overcoming Kenta Matsudaira, I think it shows the level at which I can play.” Can Akkuzu
Success for Can Akkuzu, now just one more hurdle to overcome for a place in the main draw.