by Ian Marshall, Editor
Home crowd support as they had in Daejeon earlier in the year when they emerged successful at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Korea Open, will be a major boost in an engagement where they start as favourites. The no.2 seeds, they face Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem, the no.7 seeds, in the final, the pair they beat in the opening round en route gold in Daejeon.
It is the centerpiece contest and upstages the preceding matches in the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events; engagements in which China is very much in evidence.
In the Women’s Singles event, for the umpteenth time Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling cross swords, the former the no.3 seed, the latter the no.7 seed. Earlier this year Liu Shiwen won when they met in Qatar but arguably their most famous meeting was in the final of the Uncle Pop 2017 Women’s World Cup in Markham when in a tense seven games encounter, Zhu Yuling prevailed.
Past results suggest the outcome is too close to call but in the corresponding quarter-final Women’s Singles contest, it is somewhat different. He Zhuojia, also from China and the no.12 seed, meets Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seed; just over one month ago she beat Kasumi Ishikawa in four straight games in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Austrian Open.
Currently, He Zhuojia is in a rich vein of form; that also applies to colleague, Liang Jingkun, the Men’s Singles winner in Austria and the no.3 seed in Incheon; at the quarter-final stage, he faces Japan’s Jun Mizutani, the no.8 seed; having in the opening round beaten Germany’s Timo Boll in four straight games, Liang Jingkun is no doubt brimful of confidence.
Similarly, a resounding four-nil win in the opening round for compatriot Fan Zhendong, the no.2 seed, in opposition to Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.14 seed, puts him in good heart for his last eight contest. He confronts Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, no.7 seed, the player he beat earlier in the year at the semi-final stage in Hungary and in the final in Qatar.
Prime contests but as play starts on the penultimate day, they are the support acts, Jang Woojin and Cha Hyo Sim versus Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem is the main event.