by Simon Daish
Historic journey continues for Unified Korea pair
Taking the world by storm with their historic outing at the 2018 Korea Open in July, now six months on Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin and DPR Korea’s Cha Hyo Sim are at it again on Korean soil.
The Unified Korean duo dazzled in the opening round of Mixed Doubles action in Incheon, beating Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa in a fantastic five games contest (12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5) to reach Friday’s semi-finals.
Grand Finals specialists stay on course
Winners in 2015, runners-up in 2016 and champions once again in 2017, Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima are aiming to make it to the Men’s Doubles final for the fourth year running, stating their intentions with a cool opening day victory in Incheon.
The Japanese pair, seeded second, showed great composure to see off the Hungarian no.8 seeds Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi in straight games (11-5, 11-8, 11-5).
Defending champion survives opening round scare
Gold medallist from last year’s Grand Finals, Chen Meng’s title defence campaign came close to an abrupt end on day one of the Women’s Singles draw.
Contesting a difficult opening round fixture against fellow Chinese competitor Chen Xingtong, sixth seed Chen Meng required the full match distance to pull off a narrow escape (11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5) and extend her journey in Incheon.
Shock defeat for teenage superstar Mima Ito!
Considered a major challenger for the Women’s Singles trophy in Incheon but Mima Ito’s title hopes were dashed at the first hurdle.
The no.4 seed from Japan failed to hold off a late comeback from Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching (11-9, 3-11, 11-7, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7), who moves through to the next round in the 18-year-old’s place.
Battle of the pen-holders
Four encounters from the Men’s Singles competition rounded-off the day’s action, one of which saw two of the world’s finest pen-hold grip specialists pitted against one-another as China’s Xu Xin met face-to-face with Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting.
Grand Finals champion on two previous occasions, Xu Xin remains in the running for a third success at the end of year extravaganza after successfully emerging from his opening round encounter with a 4-1 win to his name (11-6, 9-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-7).
Missed any of the action? You can find all of the day’s results HERE.