10 Nov 2018

We've seen plenty of shocks at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Liebherr Austrian Open but Day Three may be a contender for being the most dramatic yet as the top seeded players in both the Men's Singles and Women's Singles events exited the competition on Saturday 10th November.

Here’s a look at how Day Three unfolded out in Linz:

by Simon Daish

Exemplary display, fifth seed progresses

With two players already through to the lower half of the semi-final draw in the Women’s Singles event, the attention shifted to the upper section where two more places in the last four were available.

Pushed hard in the early stages of the match but top seed Zhu Yuling came away from her quarter-final against no.13 seed Doo Hoi Kem with a 4-1 victory in her favour (12-14, 11-6, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5). Chen Meng, seeded fifth, also progressed to the penultimate round after emerging successful against no.3 seed Liu Shiwen across four closely contested games (14-12, 12-10, 12-10, 12-10).

Later in the day the race to reach the final resumed as Zhu Yuling met Chen Meng in a thrilling encounter: leading 3-1 on games and holding an 8-6 advantage in game five Chen Meng needed just three points to seal the win but Zhu Yuling fought back, recovering games five and six to force a decider. With momentum against her Chen Meng remained calm, claiming game seven by a five point margin (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6) to earn her spot in the final.

“After the three-one lead, Zhu Yuling became more aggressive and I played too passive. In the deciding game, I finally managed to take command of the match again. I didn’t concentrate on having lost the lead, I just tried to play the last game as if it was the start of the match.” Chen Meng

Opposing Chen Meng in the gold medal match will be Wang Manyu after the defending champion held off another brave showing from qualifier He Zhuojia (11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-8).

Revenge for Chinese qualifier, World no.1 falls

The Men’s Singles competition also featured two quarter-final fixtures, both of which produced positive news for China and disappointment for Japan.

Showing composure throughout, top seed Fan Zhendong posted a 4-1 victory over Koki Niwa to book his place in the last four (11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9) while second seed Xu Xin came through a tricky battle with Tomokazu Harimoto (6-11, 17-15, 11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9) in the other contest.


After a few hours away from the action Fan Zhendong returned to the table looking to claim his spot in the final, however, He Zhuojia had other ideas as the unseeded Chinese player recovered from 1-2 down to beat the World no.1 by a 4-2 score-line (10-12, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9), avenging the semi-final defeat he suffered to Fan Zhendong one week earlier in the Swedish city of Stockholm.

“It’s a special moment for me of course, I am incredibly satisfied with my performance and my win against Fan Zhendong. I felt light headed; I fought for every point and gave everything I had. Tomorrow I will try to maintain my level of play; the outcome of the match is written in the stars.” Liang Jingkun

Liang Jingkun’s incredible journey continues but for Liam Pitchford the semi-finals would mark the end. Also earning his place at the event as a qualifier the Englishman struggled to establish a foothold in his meeting with Xu Xin, who required just the four games to get the job done (11-9, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6).

First appearance, first trophy

Away from the singles action there was also the small matter of the Mixed Doubles final to be settled with China’s Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen taking the plaudits.

Never before had the two featured as a pair on the ITTF World Tour stage but Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen looked as though they had been playing alongside one another for years, defeating top seeds Chen Chien-An and Cheng I-Ching 3-2 (9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 11-5).

Qualifiers for Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals – Full List

Men’s Singles
Xu Xin (China), Fan Zhendong (China), Ma Long (China), Tomokazu Harimoto (Japan), Liang Jingkun (China), Jang Woojin (Korea Republic), Lin Gaoyuan (China), Hugo Calderano (Brazil), Jun Mizutani (Japan), Patrick Franziska (Germany), Lim Jonghoon (Korea Republic), Lee Sangsu (Korea Republic), Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong), Liu Dingshuo (China), Koki Niwa (Japan), Timo Boll (Germany)

Women’s Singles
Wang Manyu (China), Kasumi Ishikawa (Japan), Liu Shiwen (China), Mima Ito (Japan), Ding Ning (China), Zhu Yuling (China), Chen Meng (China), Suh Hyowon (Korea Republic), Cheng I-Ching (Chinese Taipei), Chen Xingtong (China), Hitomi Sato (Japan), He Zhuojia (China), Miu Hirano (Japan), Sun Yingsha (China), Feng Tianwei (Singapore), Saki Shibata (Japan)

Men’s Doubles
Jeoung Youngsik / Lee Sangsu (Korea Republic), Masataka Morizono / Yuya Oshima (Japan), Ma Long / Xu Xin (China), Ho Kwan Kit / Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong), Jang Woojin / Lim Jonghoon (Korea Republic), Liao Cheng-Ting / Lin Yun-Ju (Chinese Taipei), Patrick Franziska / Jonathan Groth (Germany / Denmark), Mattias Falck / Kristian Karlsson (Sweden)

Women’s Doubles
Chen Xingtong / Sun Yingsha (China), Hina Hayata / Mima Ito (Japan), Jeon Jihee / Yang Haeun (Korea Republic), Chen Ke / Wang Manyu (China), Liu Gaoyang / Zhang Rui (China), Honoka Hashimoto / Hitomi Sato (Japan), Doo Hoi Kem / Lee Ho Ching (Hong Kong), Ng Wing Nam / Minnie Soo Wai Yam (Hong Kong)

Mixed Doubles
Lee Sangsu / Jeon Jihee (Korea Republic), Jang Woojin / Cha Hyo Sim (Korea Republic / DPR Korea), Chen Chien-An / Cheng I-Ching (Chinese Taipei), Lim Jonghoon / Yang Haeun (Korea Republic), Maharu Yoshimura / Kasumi Ishikawa (Japan), Masataka Morizono / Mima Ito (Japan), Wong Chun Ting / Doo Hoi Kem (Hong Kong), Lubomir Pistej / Barbora Balazova (Slovakia)

More Information

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Austria Open Fan Zhendong xu xin Chen Meng liu shiwen Zhu Yuling Wang Manyu Liam Pitchford Liang Jingkun He Zhuojia

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Photo Gallery

Qualification Day 1 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Liebherr Austrian Open