Tournaments

01 Nov 2018

Unexpected exits, a significant injury withdrawal and more – spectators at the Eriksdalshallen in Stockholm were treated to a fantastic opening day at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open on Thursday 1st November.

Here are the key stories from Day One:

by Simon Daish

Knee problem sees Ma Long depart

Ma Long’s campaign was drawn to an abrupt end after the no.5 seed from China was forced to withdraw due to a reoccurring knee issue, making way for Swedish qualifier Jens Lundqvist to move into the Round of 16 of the Men’s Singles event in his place.

An unavoidable disappointment for Ma Long and there was another major departure in the opening round as sixth seed Tomokazu Harimoto failed to take advantage of a two games to one lead in his meeting with Benedikt Duda (15-13, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7).

Third seed Lin Gaoyuan also came close to an opening day upset after he was pushed right down to the wire in his encounter with Chen Chien An (11-8, 8-11, 11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8) but there were no such issues for the top two seeds as Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin both advanced.

Jang Woojin of Korea Republic pulled off a terrific comeback to send seventh seed Wong Chun Ting home and we also lost five further seeded players from the proceedings: Simon Gauzy, Chuang Chih-Yuan, Marcos Freitas, Patrick Franziska and Jeong Sangeun.

Seeded stars left dazed by qualifiers

The top seven seeds on duty in the Women’s Singles draw all picked up opening round victories on Day One but the same couldn’t be said for the players seeded in positions eight and nine.

Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching was left stunned in her Round of 32 fixture with the no.8 seed experiencing a straight games defeat to Miyu Kato (11-5, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5) while Japan’s Miu Hirano, seeded ninth, lost out to Petrissa Solja by a 4-1 score-line (14-12, 11-1, 11-9, 13-15, 11-9).

“I was able to attack her services; against Miu you must always play with good quality, anything weak and she will take the opportunity. In the fourth game I had two match points, I lost both; I tried to put that out of my mind and make sure that in the fifth game I was really focused. The match was about service and receive but in rallies I did feel confident. Actually, I’m improving as the tournament progresses and returning service much better, in my first match in the qualification I made mistake after mistake returning service.” Petrissa Solja

One of the surprise names in qualifying Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin was at it again, claiming a superb 4-2 victory over no.13 seed Doo Hoi Kem but surely the most eye-catching fixture of the round was the meeting between China’s Liu Gaoyang and Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm.

In a dramatic encounter which saw Liu Gaoyang forced to replace her racket after accidentally catching the edge of the table, the qualifier won three consecutive points from 15-16 down to beat Matilda Ekholm 18-16 in the deciding game (9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-2, 8-11, 8-11, 18-16). Swedish hopes were then dashed later in the day as Linda Bergström exited to Lee Ho Ching.

Swedish duo outshines title contenders

Disappointment for the hosts in the Women’s Singles event but in the Men’s Doubles it was a Swedish pair that took the spotlight. Unseeded for the draw, Anton Källberg and Truls Moregard delivered a sensational performance to eliminate third seeds Fan Zhendong and Liang Jingkun in a five game thriller (4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8).

“It was an amazing match. I think both of us played very well and creatively. We felt very comfortable with our game. In the last game, we were just playing and trying to keep going.” Truls Moregard

Second seeds Ma Long and Xu Xin withdrew from the Men’s Doubles draw, promoting England’s Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall through to the quarter-finals. Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther, no.6 seeds, and the duo of Chen Chein-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan, seeded seventh, were the other seeded pairs to fall.

The top seeded partnership in the Women’s Doubles event is safely through to the quarter-finals with Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun proving too strong for Singapore’s Lin Ye and Yu Mengyu (11-8, 11-5, 11-9). However, no.7 seeds Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha were given a big scare, requiring the full match distance to negotiate Petrissa Solja and Sabine Winter by the narrowest of margins (11-8, 11-13, 11-5, 6-11, 13-11).

More Information

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Swedish Open ma long Cheng I-Ching Petrissa Solja Liu Gaoyang Benedikt Duda
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