by Ian Marshall, Editor
In the second round of the men’s singles event, Patrick Franziska beat China’s Fan Zhendong (8-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7); at the quarter-final stage of the women’s singles competition Kasumi Ishikawa also caused China pain, she ousted Chen Meng (6-11, 6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5).
Further progress, the odds look good for Patrick Franziska. In the round of the last eight he faces Sweden’s Mattias Falck. Runner up earlier this year at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships and the no.8 seed in Geelong, as opposed to Patrick Franziska who is the no.15 seed, status favours the Swede but on the most recent three occasions when they have met on the international stage, the verdict has gone in favour of Patrick Franziska.
However, they have not met in 2019; the most recent was the Liebherr 2015 European Championships, since that date much water has passed under the bridge.
A slight vote in favour of Patrick Franziska in the remaining men’s singles quarter-final matches, the evidence is clearer. Xu Xin faces Brazil’s Hugo Calderano. Always in previous matches the verdict has gone in favour of Xu Xin but he is the only Chinese player remaining in the top half of the draw. Remember, the Liebherr 2019 World Championships when he was in a similar situation, he was beaten in the third round by Frenchman Simon Gauzy.
Nevertheless, having struck gold at the most recent ITTF World Tour tournaments in Sapporo and Busan, the results suggest the scales are weighed heavily in favour of Xu Xin. It is a situation that also applies in the all-Chinese lower half of the draw clashes, Liang Jiangkun faces Wang Chuqin, Ma Long opposes Lin Gaoyuan.
Earlier this year Liang Jingkun beat Wang Chuqin at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open; Ma Long prevailed against Lin Gaoyuan on the ITTF World Tour in Qatar and China as well as at the World Championships.
Patrick Franziska the slight favourite again Mattias Falck; in the women’s singles semi-final for Kasumi Ishikawa, despite the fact that she is the no.6 seed and Sun Yingsha is a qualifier, the odds favour the latter. Three meetings this year on the ITTF World Tour, all three have results in wins for Sun Yingsha; however, Kasumi Ishikawa can take great heart from their most recent, last week in Busan she held match point in the deciding seventh game before experiencing defeat.
In the counterpart semi-final, China’s Ding Ning meets Mima Ito; it is always difficult to back against Ding Ning and she starts the favourite, but as last year in Sweden, this year in China, Mima Ito prevailed.
Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles event Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu, the top seeds, defend their title but I would suggest their opponents start as favourites; in the final they meet Lin Gaoyuan and Ma Long.
Similarly, in the women’s doubles gold medal contest, it is a tough task for the Korea Republic; appearing in no less than their 17th ITTF World Tour women’s doubles final as a pairing, Jeon Jihee and Yang Yaeun, the no.2 seeds, oppose Chen Meng and Wang Manyu, the top seeds.
Clear favourites; in the mixed doubles final, statistics read it should be the same; Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem, the no.2 seeds, face Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito; the Japanese duo was required to qualify but they form a very harmonious combination. The may well upset the order.
At the close of play the winners in the men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles events will be known as will the men’s singles semi-finalists and the women’s singles finalists.