by Simon Daish
Seeded 13th in at the 2019 Korea Open, Jeoung outperformed expectations in front of the home crowd, seeing off Russia’s Kirill Skachkov and 2018 Korea Open champion Jang Woojin to reserve his spot in the last eight.
Jeoung then produced one of the shocks of the tournament, fighting back from a 1-2 games deficit to eliminate top seed Fan Zhendong from the race – his journey was eventually halted by World champion Ma Long in the semi-finals, but overall a week to remember for the 27-year-old.
Aside from his most recent outing on the ITTF World Tour, Jeoung’s other highlight moment of the year surely came at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships. Opening his campaign with victories over Jesus Cantero and Benedek Olah [Spain and Finland respectively], Jeoung went on to stun Japanese no.13 seed Jun Mizutani across seven games to secure a top 16 finish in Budapest.
One man who can paint the perfect picture when it comes to Jeoung’s character is ITTF Editor, Ian Marshall. His first glimpse of the Korean player came 10 years back at the 2009 World Junior Championships:
“I first saw Jeoung Youngsik at the 2009 World Junior Championships in Cartagena de Indias, whether he won or lost there was always a boyish smile, it hasn’t changed. He was present alongside Kim Minseok, a very different character who if given time could make the ball talk. Jeoung Youngsik was different, he had to work hard, the notable difference being that he was stronger from the backhand than the forehand; that may be one reason for recent success as a strong backhand becomes even more necessary in the modern day game. The tradition amongst Koreans has always been athleticism, fast footwork and a dynamic forehand. No better example is Kim Taeksoo, the former Asian champion who now sits courtside as advisor. One other factor, at the 2010 Asian Games, I had a team of flash quote reporters helping me, there was no shortage of volunteers to interview Jeoung Youngsik!” Ian Marshall (ITTF Editor)
Last year at the 2018 Australia Open, Jeoung successfully negotiated the two-day qualification tournament before going on to achieve a quarterfinals finish in the men’s singles draw beating fellow countrymen Lee Sangsu and Lim Jonghoon along the way. Jeoung also added a gold medal to his collection, partnering Lee Sangsu to men’s doubles victory.
Unseeded once again, Jeoung Youngsik begins his singles journey right at the beginning in qualification action. But, in light of his recent success could he be set to impress in Geelong?