06 Jun 2019

The day of the opening rounds in all five events, Thursday 6th June, at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open.

It is the day when those who have competed in two days of qualification can make an impact.

Supreme talent but still learning

Men’s Singles: Round One

A very strong case can be stated for the fact that Lin Yun-Ju is the most talented player ever to emanate from Chinese Taipei but at 17 years of age he is still learning. In the opening round of the men’s singles event, he received a lesson.

The no.14 seed, he was beaten by China’s Zhou Yu (5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5, 15-13).

Quadri Aruna responds

Men’s Singles: Round One

Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna beat China’s Zheng Peifeng, the result was as seeding predicted; Quadri Aruna was the no.15 seed, Zheng Peifeng a qualifier but for the reigning African champion, it could well be regarded as a somewhat unexpected win. Zheng Peifeng is a right handed pen-holder, not a style common on the present day international scene; furthermore last year he won on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour in the Czech Republic.

“It was a very difficult match, it was my first match, so it was very hard, not so easy, when compared to those players who had been playing for two days. I think my opponent is very strong and I am lucky in the end to win 4-3. I actually watched him play last night against Alvaro Robles from Spain and I was thinking I had a chance. I kept believing and believing because I know he is really great and good, I have self confidence and I always believe in my game. Being the only one from the country is always not easy, but I just have to keep playing and playing.” Quadri Aruna

Quadri Aruna won in seven games (12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 5-11, 10-12, 11-5).

Quadri Aruna in fine form in Hong Kong (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Europeans excel

Men’s Singles: Round One

Frenchmen Simon Gauzy and Germany’s Benedikt Duda upset the order of merit as play progressed in the opening round of the men’s singles event.

Simon Gauzy beat Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu, the no.6 seed (11-5, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5); Benedikt Duda accounted for the host association’s Ho Kwan Kit, the no.16 seed (11-5, 11-6, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6). Neither Simon Gauzy nor Benedikt Duda have won ITTF World Tour men’s singles titles, both Lee Sangsu and Ho Kwan Kit have enjoyed such successes.

Slow starters

Men’s Singles: Round One

China’s Lin Gaoyuan, the top seed, made a successful start to his campaign but there some tense moments, he lost the opening two games against Germany’s Ricardo Walther, before securing four in a row to clinch victory (8-11, 10-12, 11-2, 11-5, 11-6, 12-10).

Success for Lin Gaoyuan and at the same time, in the same manner, there was success for Tomokazu Harimoto, the no,2 seed. He recovered from a two games to nil to beat Sweden’s Jon Persson (7-11, 4-11, 11-8, 12-10, 14-12, 11-8).

Lin Gaoyuan recovered to beat Ricardo Walther (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Staving off recoveries

Men’s Singles: Round One

Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.4 seed and Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin, the no.5 seed, both staved off spirited challenges to book their second round places, both established three games to nil leads, both eventually won in seven games.

Timo Boll eventually overcame India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta (11-4, 11-9, 13-11, 7-11, 11-13, 10-12, 11-6); in an even closer contest, Jang Woojin ended the hopes of Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic (11-9, 11-8, 13-11, 7-11, 6-11, 12-14, 11-9).

Hong Kong disappointment

Women’s Singles: Round One

A possible second round meeting against colleague Doo Hoi Kem; it was not to happen. Minnie Soo Wai Yam was beaten in the opening round of the women’s singles event by Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.14 seed (11-9, 8-11, 11-1, 11-2, 11-9).

Success for Sofia Polcanova, at the same time there were wins for Japan’s Saki Shibata and Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching. Saki Shibata beat Russia’s Yana Noskova (11-6, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10), Cheng I-Ching accounted for Korea Republic’s Park Joohyun (11-8, 11-2, 11-8, 11-5).

Minnie Soo Wai Yam beaten by Sofia Polcanova (Photo: courtesy of Hong Kong Table Tennis Association Ltd)
Defence delights

Women’s Singles: Round One

Seeding suggested success for Japan’s Hitomi Sato, listed no.9 in the order of merit but facing China’s Mu Zi, semi-finalist at the Qoros 2015 World Championships and a player adept against the defensive art, it was an exacting task.

Arguably she was not the favourite but her defensive skills stood firm, in seven games Hitomi Sato succeeded (13-15, 3-11, 12-10, 16-14, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7).

Powerful display from Doo Hoi Kem

Women’s Singles: Round One

Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, seeded sixth, has powered through her opening round meeting with Sarah De Nutte, beating the Luxembourg player 4-0 (12-10, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6).

The player seeded directly below in seventh, Singapore’s Feng Tianwei is also through following her five games victory over Li Jie (11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6) as is Japanese no.4 seed Miu Hirano who prevailed 4-1 against Hana Matelova (11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8). However, Japanese qualifier Miyu Kato is out of the running, falling to Chinese no.12 seed He Zhuojia (7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7).

Miyu Kato beaten by He Zhuojia (Photo: courtesy of Hong Kong Table Tennis Association Ltd.)
Koki Niwa comes through troubled waters

Men’s Singles: Round One

Up against the ropes for the majority of the match but Japan’s Koki Niwa has come through his opening round fixture against India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran with a 4-1 win to his name (11-5, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10, 11-5).

The other Japanese player in action, Maharu Yoshimura needed just four games to beat German opponent Patrick Franziska (12-10, 11-9, 11-2, 11-2) while China’s Liang Jingkun held off a brave effort from up-and-coming Swedish star Truls Moregard (12-10, 16-14, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4).

Home favourite survives major scare

Men’s Singles: Round One

What an incredible battle spectators have just witnessed on table 1 as Hong Kong’s very own Wong Chun Ting survived a tense opening to his men’s singles campaign.

Trailing 2-3 on the games scorecard no.13 seed Wong Chun Ting won the following two games by the narrowest of margins in deuce to edge past Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar (11-9, 11-2, 6-11, 4-11, 8-11, 14-12, 16-14).

Opening round win for Mattias Falck

Men’s Singles: Round One

Defeated at the first hurdle a week ago in Shenzhen but in Hong Kong it was a different story as Sweden’s Mattias Falck, seeded seventh, breezed through his meeting with Japanese qualifier Kazuhiro Yoshimura in four games (11-9, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7).

Tenth seed Liam Pitchford is out of the proceedings after the English hopeful lost out to China’s Ma Te 4-2 (11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 13-11, 11-8). Top seed Lin Gaoyuan prevailed over Korea’s Lim Jonghoon (11-2, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 11-7) and there was a close shave for Japanese no.9 seed Jun Mizutani, who required the full match distance to see off Germany’s Qiu Dang (11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 11-5).

Chen Xingtong out of the running!

Women’s Singles: Round One

What an upset! Seeded 10th for the women’s singles draw but Chen Xingtong has been eliminated at the first hurdle following a devastating 4-0 defeat against fellow Chinese compatriot Feng Yalan (11-9, 13-11, 11-5, 16-14).

The other fixtures taking place in the 3.10pm session all resulted in victories for seeded players: Japan’s Mima Ito and Romania’s Bernadette Szocs successfully negotiated their opening matches against Yu Mengyu (11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7) and Suthasini Sawettabut (11-8, 11-3, 13-11, 11-4) while Germany’s Shan Xiaona edged past Chen Szu-Yu (8-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9).

What a result for Feng Yalan! (Photo: Hong Kong Table Tennis Association Ltd)
Mixed emotions for Koreans

Women’s Singles: Round One

Producing a graceful performance on the table, Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon has successfully negotiated her opening round fixture in the women’s singles event with the no.5 seed needing just four games to see off Portuguese qualifier Fu Yu (11-7, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7).

However, fellow Korean and no.11 seed Jeon Jihee didn’t fare so well as she lost out to China’s Sun Mingyang across six games (11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9). Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa and China’s Wang Yidi progressed at the expense of Zhang Mo (11-5, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10) and Lee Ho Ching (11-5, 11-3, 12-10, 11-6).

Chinese partnership show their class

Men’s Doubles: Round One

Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan are through to the men’s doubles quarter-finals after the fifth seeds from China pulled off a mighty display to beat England’s Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker 3-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-5). Second seeds Liao Cheng-Ting and Lin Yun-Ju, Chinese Taipei, are also through following a tight seven-game victory over Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia and Joao Monteiro (11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-4).

Elsewhere, the Japanese pair of Masataka Morizono and Maharu Yoshimura got the better of Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky and Pavel Sirucek (11-6, 11-5, 11-6) while Austria’s Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn proved too strong for India’s Amalraj Anthony and Manav Vikash Thakkar (11-1, 11-5, 11-7).

Victorious Indians react

Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran have reacted to their fantastic win against Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles:

“It was a very good match and we played very well. We have been playing doubles for so long. We are so happy! This is a big win for us for a very long time. We have a good win so it will boost our confidence. We hope to go further in the competition.” Sathiyan Gnanasekaran

“Normally we are better when we are attacking. Today we put them in a lot of defensive situations, especially the first game our start was not very good, always trailing behind. But, we slowly came back and managed to play more aggressively.” Sharath Kamal Achanta

Sharath Kamal Achanta (left) and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (right) upset the odds (Photo: Hong Kong Table Tennis Association Ltd)
World Championships finalists stopped

Men’s Doubles: Round One

Runners-up at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships but the Romanian/Spanish pair of Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles have been defeated at the first hurdle in Hong Kong with India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran holding the upper hand over the no.4 seeds (12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7).

Top seeds Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting also needed just four games to prevail in their encounter against French qualifiers Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson (11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3).

Injury withdrawals

Men’s Doubles: Round One

Jon Persson and Kristian Karlsson won’t appear in men’s doubles main draw action due to the latter player picking up an injury ahead of their scheduled meeting with the no.3 seeded pair Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon. Sixth seeds Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan have also withdrawn.

Mixed association combination falls

Women’s Doubles: Round One

Losing one mixed association pair earlier in the morning, the 12.20pm session marked the end of the road for another as Spain’s Maria Xiao and Canada’s Zhang Mo fell at the hands of the no.6 seeds from Singapore, Lin Ye and Zeng Jian (7-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-5).

The other contest saw Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Yoo Eunchong, seeded fourth, post a straight games victory over Romania’s Irina Ciobanu and Bernadette Szocs (11-6, 11-8, 11-4).

Dominant showing from Hong Kong stars

Women’s Doubles: Round One

Spectators at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong will be delighted with the start Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam have made as the second seeded pair stormed to an opening round success over Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin and Debora Vivarelli (11-1, 11-3, 11-6).

Victory for the seeded duo but there was defeat for another with no.5 seeds Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa losing out to fellow Japanese competitors Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki (8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3).

Thai duo upsets seeding

Women’s Doubles

Thailand’s Orawan Paranang and Suthasini Sawettabut caused an early upset in the women’s doubles event; they beat the combination of Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova, the no.3 seeds (11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8).

Good news for Thailand, at the same time there was good news for Hong Kong. Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the top seeds, beat India’s Manika Batra and Archana Girish Kamath (11-6, 12-10, 11-7).

Third seeds fall

Mixed Doubles

Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin and Jeon Jihee, the no.3 seeds, experienced an opening round defeat; they were beaten by China’s Zhou Yu and Chen Xingtong (11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8).

However, for the host nation’s Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching, there was success; the no.4 seeds, they beat the French pairing of Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan (11-8, 3-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8). Also there was success for last week’s winners in Shenzhen; Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching, the no.5 seeds, accounted for Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic and Izabela Lupulesku (11-7, 11-7, 11-3).

Success for Ho Kwan Kit (left) and (right) Lee Ho Ching (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem react

Mixed Doubles

Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem reacted after their opening round win.

“We are satisfied with our performance, the fact that they have not paired before was a slight advantage for us. We had a brilliant focus in the game, taking one point at a time. The draw is definitely not the best we can get, they are the strongest pair apart from the China team. Each of them are good respectively in men’s doubles, women’s doubles even the singles.” Wong Chun Ting

“I was quite happy with the draw because I prefer such opponents over the Europeans. The Japanese are strong, so we headed into a battle with them, some European opponents are more unpredictable. As soon as we figured out the way they play, we reacted quick enough in today’s match; taking the first two games was the key to victory for sure.” Doo Hoi Kem

Top seeds progress, second seeds fall

Mixed Doubles

Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem, the top seeds, emerged successful in their opening round mixed doubles contest; however for Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova, the no.2 seeds, it was defeat.

Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem beat Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata (12-10, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2); Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova suffered at the hands of China’s Ma Te and Wu Yang (11-8, 11-8, 11-8).

A successful start for Wong Chun Ting (nearest camera) and Doo Hoi Kem (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Intriguing from the start

Mixed Doubles

The very first match of the day is mouth-watering; the host nation’s Wong Chun-Ting and Doo Hoi Kem, the top seeds, the winners at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals face Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata.

Simply mouth-watering.

Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open: Schedule for Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th June

World Tour 2019 Seamaster ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open Hong Kong

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open

Match Highlights