by Simon Daish
Established names fall and a narrow escape
One of the biggest surprises of qualifying is that Wang Chuqin has failed to reserve his spot in the Men’s Singles draw – the Chinese star ended up on the wrong side of a seven games defeat inflicted by Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin (11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-8) in the final round of qualification.
Fellow Chinese representative Yu Ziyang didn’t fare much better after losing out to Chen Chien-An 4-1 and Liang Jingkun also came close to suffering the same fate, recovering from a perilous 0-3 deficit before eventually beating Park Ganghyeon 4-3 (9-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5).
Fortunate not to be eliminated earlier in the day, Masataka Morizono’s luck ran out in the final qualification stage as the Japanese competitor succumbed to a 4-0 loss against Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic (11-5, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5). Emmanuel Lebesson was another big name to fall with Korea’s Lim Jonghoon progressing in his place.
Prior to the final day of qualification we lost Danish legend Michael Maze in Preliminary Round 1 while Ruwen Filus and Tiago Apolonia bid their farewells one round later.
Success within reach but no joy for hosts
The sole Swedish player to reach the final Preliminary Round in the Women’s Singles draw Li Fen has missed out on the opportunity to compete in the main event. Li Fen failed to capitalise on a two games advantage, allowing Hong Kong’s Lee Ho Ching to recover a 4-2 win (8-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 15-13, 11-9).
Responsible for Yui Hamamoto’s shock elimination in the previous round Monoco’s Yang Xiaoxin added another major scalp to the list in the third Preliminary Round, beating Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian in straight games (11-6, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6) to seal her place in the main draw.
2018 Commonwealth Games champion Manika Batra also fell at the final qualification hurdle following a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Honoka Hashimoto (11-9, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6) while Wang Yidi came out on top against Chen Ke in an all-China affair.
Sabine Winter and Tetyana Bilenko were the two major casualties of the opening day in the Women’s Singles category with Wu Yang, Sun Yingsha and Yang Haeun exiting on the following day.
Korean partnerships stand united
The return of partnerships formed from the two sides of the Korean Peninsula proved highly successful in the race for the Women’s Doubles draw with two such pairs moving through to the competition proper.
DPR Korea’s Kim Song I and Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon combined well to see off Slovenia’s Alex Galic and Switzerland’s Rachel Moret (11-8, 11-6, 11-4) while the other pair representing the Korean Peninsula, Cha Hyo Sim and Choi Hyojoo posted a 3-1 win against India’s Ayhika Mukherjee and Madhurika Patkar (8-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8).
In the final round of Men’s Doubles qualifying, Sweden’s Anton Källberg and Truls Moregard beat Vladimir Sidorenko and Grigory Vlasov in straight games (11-7, 11-6, 11-9) and there was further success for the host nation as Par Gerell and Jon Persson also qualified.