Tournaments

06 Apr 2019

The hopes of place on the podium for Japan, for the first time since Jun Mizutani secured bronze in 2015 in Jaipur, is assured; both Tomokazu Harimoto and Koki Niwa emerged successful in their quarter-final encounters in the men’s event at the at the Lion 32nd ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup Yokohama 2019 on Saturday 6th April.

However, prodigious opponents beckon in the penultimate round, the might of China, for Tomokazu Harimoto the adversary is Fan Zhendong; for Koki Niwa, Ma Long lies in wait.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

At the quarter-final stage of play, Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.2 seed, beat Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu, the no.3 seed (11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9) to be followed by Koki Niwa, the no.4 seed, who accounted for Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.7 seed (12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9).

Thus Tomokazu Harimoto repeated the success enjoyed in their most recent meeting when last year on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour, he had prevailed against Lee Sangsu in Kitakyushu; rather differently, Koki Niwa reversed the decisions of last year. He had lost the Wong Chun Ting at the both the ITTF Team World Cup in London and at the 2018 Lion ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup Yokohama.

Impressive from Tomokazu Harimoto and Koki Niwa; it was the same from Fan Zhendong and Ma Long.

Fan Zhendong, the top seed and defending champion, beat Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, the no.9 seed (11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8); to conclude the round, Ma Long, the no.6 seed, accounted for India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.10 seed (11-5, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6, 11-3).

“This is my first time playing against him. I was well prepared. I tried to restrain his tactics on the court and it worked really well. I treat every opponent as the same. So I will prepare for my match against Tomokazu Harimoto just like how I prepare my matches against other opponents. Just try my best to win every match.” Fan Zhendong

Understandably in the mind of those watching in Yokohama is the fact that last year in the group stage Tomokazu Harimoto beat Fan Zhendong, before Fan Zhendong recovered to secure the title.

The semi-finals will be played later in the day.

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2019 Asian Cup Tomokazu Harimoto Koki Niwa
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Day 2 - Lion 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup