by Ian Marshall, Editor
However, if any player gained just reward for keeping mind, body and soul together it was China’s Ma Te, a player very different from the vast majority of the modern era, he is a defender.
…………Ma Te prevailed in the match of the day; after one hour and six minutes, eventually he overcame Pavel Platonov of Belarus (9-11, 9-11, 11-3, 12-10, 15-13, 9-11, 13-11). One round later he beat Spain’s Alvaro Robles (7-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-5) to book his place in the main draw.
…………Success for Japan: Takuya Jin, Asuka Machi, Masataka Morizono, Kazuhiro Yoshimura and Yuta Tanaka all booked main draw places.
…………China’s Zhao Zihao prevented Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira from reaching a fourth possible men’s singles final in five years; he beat the now 28 year old in five games (11-7, 12-10, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9), before accounting for a further Japanese player in the guise of Taimu Arinobu (10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8) to reserve his main draw place.
…………Winner just under one year ago in the Czech Republic, China’s Zheng Peifeng progressed but he was tested. In the final preliminary round he needed the full seven games to beat England’s Paul Drinkhall (14-12, 12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 1-11, 5-11, 11-7).
…………Highest rated name in the qualification stage, Portugal’s Marcos Freitas enjoyed success; in the final qualification he beat the Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik (7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6).
…………All former winners on the ITTF World Tour, China’s Mu Zi and Wu Yang, alongside Portugal’s Shao Jieni and Germany’s Han Ying progressed safely to the main event.
…………The Japanese duo of Miyuu Kihara, 15 years old and Haruna Ojio, one year younger, both advanced to the second stage as did colleagues Airi Abe and Minami Ando.
…………Japanese players in form, the most impressive was Hina Hayata. She beat Feng Yalan (11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7), three times a winner of the ITTF World Tour, before ousting a second Chinese player in the guise of Zhang Qiang (10-12, 11-3, 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 15-13) to reserve her main draw place.
…………Korea Republic’s Kim Byeolnim emerged arguably the most surprise name to secure a main draw berth; in the decisive preliminary round she overcame Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova (6-11, 11-8, 4-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8).
…………Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu, the leading name on qualification duty, resisted a brave recovery by Ukraine’s Ganna Gaponova (11-7, 11-9, 11-3, 3-11, 13-15, 8-11, 11-7) to advance to the next stage.
…………Iranian brothers Nima Alamian and Noshad Alamiyan provided the performance of the final qualification round; they beat Serbia’s Marko Jevtovic and Zsolt Pete (11-9, 11-2, 11-4), the runners up earlier this year on home soil at the ITTF Challenge Series tournament in Belgrade
…………Winners on the ITTF World Tour in Budapest in 2017, China’s Chen Xingtong and Li Jiayi underlined the fact that they are candidates for honours; in the crucial preliminary round, they accounted for the Czech Republic’s Karin Adamkova and Dana Cechova (11-2, 11-8, 11-5).
…………Korea Republic’s Cho Daeseong, 16 years old and Shin Yubin, one year younger, provided the performance of the final qualification round; they beat Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Eizabeta Samara (11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6).