by Ian Marshall, Editor
A full distance five games win for the reigning world champions but they came within millimetres of defeat.
Having lost the opening two games and being very much out of sorts against Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee, they trailed 1-7 in the third; it appeared it would only be a matter of time before a notable Korean victory was hailed. It was not to happen, at 8-10, the Chinese duo saved two match points, they then won the next two and the tide had turned.
Almost an upset, in the men’s singles events there were upsets, Wong Chun Ting being the biggest name to depart, followed by Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura and India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta.
Wong Chun Ting, the no.7 seed, experienced a second round defeat at the hands of DPR Korea’s An Ji Song, the no.28 seed; he suffered by the very narrowest of margins (11-5, 11-5, 4-11, 4-11, 12-10). A nail-biting win, An Ji Song continued his good form; he promptly accounted for Korea Republic’s Kim Minhyeok, the no.36 seed (11-2, 11-5, 11-6) to reserve his place in the fourth round.
Good fortunes for DPR Korea, for Japan and India, it was mixed fortunes. Manav Vikash Thakkar, the no.31 seed, flew the flag for India by recording a third round win in opposition to Kazuhiro Yoshimura, the no.12 seed, a contest decided by the minimal margin (10-12, 11-13, 16-14, 11-4, 11-9).
Similarly, by the two point decision in the final game, the effervescent Takuya Jin brought smiles to those who support the Land of the Rising Sun. The no.18 seed, he ended the hopes of Sharath Kamal Achanta, the no.13 seed, in an equally tension packed contest (4-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 14-12).
Defeats for notable names but not for the most notable of all; the Chinese trio comprising Xu Xin, Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan imposed their authority on proceedings, as did Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto.
In the third round, Xu Xin, the top seed, beat Kuwait’s Ibrahem Al-Hasan (12-10, 11-5, 11-5), Fan Zhendong, the no.2 seed, accounted for DPR Korea’s Ri Jong Sik (11-7, 11-4, 11-5). Likewise, Lin Gaoyuan, the no.3 seed, overcame Macao’s Cheong Chi Cheng (11-4, 11-7, 11-3), Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes of Malaysia’s Wong Qi Shen (12-10, 11-3, 11-8).
Meanwhile, as matters advanced in the women’s singles event, there was just one major casualty, Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu, the no.15 seed, suffered at the hands of India’s Ayhika Mukherjee, the no.30 seed and winner earlier in the year at the Commonwealth Championships (6-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9).
Otherwise for the leading names it was second round success. China’s Chen Meng, Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen and Wang Manyu showed no charity. Chen Meng, the top seed, beat Sri Lanka’s Jithara Warnakulasuriya (11-5, 11-3, 11-3), Ding Ning, the no.2 seed, ousted Malaysia’s Alice Chang Li Sian (11-2, 11-4, 11-1). Likewise, Wang Manyu, the no.3 seed, accounted for DPR Korea’s Pyon Song Gyong (11-5, 11-8, 11-3), Liu Shiwen halted the aspirations Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam (11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3).
Unexpected outcomes in the men’s singles and women’s singles events; there was also a major upset in the men’s doubles competition; in the second round DPR Korea’s Ri Jong Sik and Ham Yu Song beat Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu, the no.3 seeds (12-10, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9), before reserving their place in the quarter-finals courtesy of success in opposition to Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting and Wang Tai-Wei (11-6, 11-8, 12-10).
Defeat for the third seeds, but not for the two higher rated pairs; in the third round Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the top seeds, beat DPR Korea’s Kim Ok Chan and An Ji Song (11-9, 11-4, 11-5), colleagues Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan, the no.2 seeds, stifled the visions of Jann Mari Nayre and Misal John Russel of the Philippines (15-13, 11-6, 11-8).
Likewise, in the women’s doubles event, the top two pairs booked quarter-final places in an untroubled manner. In round three, Chen Meng and Wang Manyu, the top seeds, beat Thailand’s Nanthana Komwong and Jinnipa Sawettabut (11-4, 15-13, 11-2); colleagues Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling, the no.2 seeds, ousted Nepal’s Elina Maharjan and Nabita Shrestha (11-8, 11-3, 11-6).
On Friday 20th September when play closes, the semi-finalist in the men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s doubles will be known.