by Ian Marshall, Editor
In the women’s singles event Cheng I-Ching, the no.4 seed, accounted for Singapore’s Lin Ye (11-7, 11-6, 12-10) the player who had won the regional group the previous day.
Presently Cheng I-Ching is listed at no.8 on the women’s world rankings, Lin Ye at no.52; furthermore, it was the fifth time they had met on the international stage, it was the fifth time Cheng I-Ching had won.
It was somewhat similar for Chen Szu-Yu who was beaten by the host nation’s Miu Hirano (11-5, 11-2, 11-7); three previous meetings in world ranking events, all in 2017, three wins for Miu Hirano, the fourth meeting was no different. Furthermore, Miu Hirano was the no.5 seed, Chen Szu-Yu the no.10 seed.
However, in the men’s event the evidence was not quite as clear cut. Lin Yun-Ju was the favourite against Thailand’s Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon being the no.9 seed and listed at no.21 on the men’s world rankings, as opposed to his adversary who secured top spot in the regional group and is named at no.111 in the global order. In what was their first meeting on the international stage, Lin Yu-Ju showed his class to win in straight games (11-7, 11-5, 11-8).
Equally, there appeared little to choose in the one remaining Challenge round contest; that between India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.10 seed and Kazhakstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko, the no.12. They had met in 2017 on the Seamaster ITTF World Tour in Austria when Sathiyan Gnanasekaran had prevailed; in Yokohama he prevailed again (11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6).
“It was a very good match. He is very strong player and I was well prepared for long rallies. I think I played very well today. It is my first time proceeding into the quarter-final in an Asian Cup. So I am happy. I was very aggressive. I attacked well, my speed was very good and I attacked very fast. He was unable to defend very well. My coach also gave me a lot of strategies. They worked really well. It is a great opportunity to play against top players in the world. I am very looking forward to the next match. I will give my best as I have nothing to lose. I am looking forward to some upsets. Hope I can qualify for the World Cup.” Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Lin Yun-Ju now progress to the men’s quarter-finals; Chen I-Ching and Miu Hirano to the same stage in the women’s event.