Tournaments

09 Nov 2018

What a day it has been at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Liebherr Austrian Open in Linz, filled to the brim with drama as major contenders were sent home packing.

Take a look at our Day Two review to find out who’s still in the race and who bid their farewells on Friday 9th November:

by Simon Daish

Top two seeds safely through but Englishman steals the show

Superb in qualifying and responsible for eliminating Marcos Freitas in the opening round, but victory in the Round of 16 of the Men’s Singles competition proved one step too far for qualifier Sathiyan Gnanasekaran as the Indian star fell to second seed Xu Xin across five games (11-1, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2, 11-4).

Prior to that match Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto came out on top in the battle of generations, beating fellow compatriot Jun Mizutani 4-1 (11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7). Koki Niwa emerged victorious in the other all-Japan encounter against Kazuhiro Yoshimura while top seed Fan Zhendong recovered from 0-1 down to defeat Jin Ueda 4-1.

 

Two quarter-finals took place in the evening session of play, one of which saw three-time champion Timo Boll exit the competition. Fighting back from 2-0 down to pull level at 2-2, but the no.3 seed from Germany failed to turn his encounter against Liam Pitchford around with the English qualifier claiming the following two games in deuce to seal one of the best victories of his career by a 4-2 score-line (11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 8-11, 13-11, 12-10).

The other quarter-final saw Hugo Calderano, who negotiated a seven game thriller earlier in the day against Jang Woojin, exit the competition with the 11th seeded Brazilian also losing out to a qualifier in China’s Liang Jingkun (11-5, 15-13, 11-4, 11-9).

Advantage China but World champion falls

Day Two in the Women’s Singles event heralded many a victory for China but there was a major scare for top seed Zhu Yuling, who held off Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto by the skin of her teeth (11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-13, 12-10, 10-12, 12-10). Fifth seed Chen Meng also stood firm to see off a late comeback charge from Chen Xingtong (11-6, 11-4, 11-4, 6-11, 4-11, 7-11, 11-5).

Liu Shiwen came through her Round of 16 match relatively untroubled, needing just four games to see off Romania’s Bernadette Szocs (11-3, 11-2, 11-2, 13-11) – Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem also put in a dazzling performance, stunning no.8 seed Mima Ito 4-2 (9-11, 11-1, 11-2, 7-11, 14-12, 11-8) to reserve her spot in the last eight.

“It’s unbelievable. Mima played so well at the Swedish Open and she beat many Chinese. My coach told me if I do my best I could have chances.” Doo Hoi Kem

In the lower half of the draw defending champion Wang Manyu emerged successful from her meeting with Miu Hirano, but it was her win over World champion Ding Ning in the quarter-finals (11-5, 9-11, 2-11, 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7) which unsurprisingly went down as her result of the day.

He Zhuojia, who began her campaign in the qualification tournament, took her game up another level in the quarter-finals as the 20-year-old Chinese player brought Cheng I-Ching’s run to an end (11-3, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4) to earn herself a place at the 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.

In form partnerships reach final

The top two performing doubles pairs on the 2018 ITTF World Tour Standings, the Chinese duo of Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha along with Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito will take the top two positions on the Women’s Doubles podium in Linz, but not necessarily in that order.

Smiles all round for Hina Hayata and Mima Ito (Photo: Rémy Gros)

Fifth seeds Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha booked their place in the final following a tight win against second seeds Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun (11-13, 11-8, 11-4, 10-12, 11-4) while top seeds Hina Hayata and Mima Ito proved too strong for qualifiers Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui (11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8).

The Mixed Doubles saw Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin and DPR Korea’s Cha Hyo Sim fall to China’s Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen in their first defeat as a pair (11-5, 12-10, 11-7). Chen Chien-An and Cheng I-Ching will be the other pair competing for the gold medal.

In the Men’s Doubles draw Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu accounted for no.3 seeds Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting to set up a meeting with second seeds Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima in the final, who are keen to lift their first trophy of the year:

“We are a really experienced doubles pair; we have been playing together for three years. Still we had to be focused throughout the whole match; this year Yuya and myself have played three finals, never won, so tomorrow we want to win the title.” Masataka Morizono

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World Tour 2018 Seamaster Austria Open Zhu Yuling Wang Manyu Liam Pitchford Liang Jingkun He Zhuojia
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Qualification Day 1 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Liebherr Austrian Open