13 Nov 2019

Differing fortunes for Lee Sangsu and Jeoung Youngsik in the concluding preliminary round of the men’s singles event at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum Austrian Open in Linz on Wednesday 13th November, sealed their fate; not only for the current tournament, also for the forthcoming ITTF World Tour Grand Finals to be staged in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou later this year in December.

A men’s singles place awaits for Jeoung Youngsik; not for Lee Sangsu.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Lee Sangsu was beaten in the concluding preliminary round by Germany’s Benedikt Duda (11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9); conversely at the same stage Jeoung Youngsik overcame a very dangerous opponent in the guise of China’s Yan An (9-11, 12-10, 17-15, 11-9, 12-10).

The outcome means that Jeoung Youngsik cements his place on the standings at no.14 (379 points), for Lee Sangsu he drops two places to no.19 (271 points). Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting (288 points) and Japan’s Koki Niwa (281 points), both seeded in Linz and thus gaining an immediate 25 points, move ahead of the Korean.

However, we can expect to see Lee Sangsu in Zhengzhou; partnering Jeoung Youngsik, in the men’s doubles they are home and dry. They occupy the no.2 spot (750 points) on the standings; they are the top seeds in Linz.

Jeoung Youngsik (left) and (right) Lee Sangsu assured of a men’s doubles place at the Grand Finals (Photo: An Sungho)
Korean crunch

Assured in the men’s doubles but not necessarily in the mixed; as in the men’s and women’s doubles eight pairs but different in the mixed in that a national association is only permitted to be represented by one pairing.

Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee are the no.4 seeds; directly to the main draw they occupy the no.5 spot (260 points). However, colleagues Cho Daeseong and Shin Yubin accounted for Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Candela Molero (11-6, 11-6, 11-5) to book their place in the main draw. They have now completed the minimum four appearance criteria and in fact stand one place ahead of Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee (282 points).

Moreover, in Linz the Koreans could meet in the quarter-finals; in the opening round Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee face Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja; Cho Daeseong and Shin Yubin oppose Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova, the no.7 seeds. Presently, Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova are listed on the standings at no.6 (259 points).

If both Korea Republic pairs reach the quarter-final; that match will decide the Grand Finals place.

In the Czech Republic, Shin Yubin (nearest camera) and Cho Daeseong beat Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito to secure the mixed doubles title (Photo: Lukas Kabon)
Last place

Which Korean pair will progress? The other question is which pair will gain the last available position?

At the start of the tournament two pairs occupied the no.7 spot (233 points), the French combination of Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier, alongside the Hungarians Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel.

It is still the same; on the opening day of play, Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier lost to Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chen Szu-Yu (12-10, 8-11, 10-12, 14-12, 13-11); on the second day of action Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel suffered against Aliaksandr Khanin and Daria Trigolos of Belarus (15-13, 11-9, 11-4).

Now both pairs are looking over their shoulders, the host nation’s Stefan Fegerl and Sofia Polcanova occupy to the no.8 seeded spot and are thus directly through to the main draw. Presently they are listed on the standings in an effective no.9 spot (220 points). Win the round one match which gives 38 points and they have a top eight place.

A major opportunity beckons for Stefan Fegerl (nearest camera) and Sofia Polcanova (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Help from a friend

Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier will be hoping for a little help from a friend; in the opening round Stefan Fegerl and Sofia Polcanova face Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that either the French or Hungarians will miss out; level on points in such instances the world rankings decide. Presently, Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier are listed at no.9 (930 points), Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel one place below (920 points).

Also still harbouring hopes of a mixed doubles Grand Finals place is the Romanian duo formed by Ovidiu Ionescu and Bernadette Szocs; they reserved their main draw place courtesy of success against Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck and Lisa Lung (11-7, 16-14, 11-2). In effective terms they occupy the no.10 spot on the standings (171 points) but to have any hope of a top eight finish they will need to reach the final.

In the opening round Ovidiu Ionescu and Bernadette Szocs meet Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito, the no.3 seeds; at no.4 (638 points), they are assured of a place at the Grand Finals.

Ovidiu Ionescu (nearest camera) and Bernadette Szocs face a momentous task if they are to reach the Grand Finals (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Still hope

Hopes alive, it is the same for China’s Gu Yuting in the women’s singles; she beat Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto (11-6, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8), she remains in the no.17 spot (244 points) but to gain her place in Zhengzhou, needs to finish in a minimum runners up spot.

Conversely for Saki Shibata, like Honoka Hashimoto from Japan, the dream is over, she was beaten in the final preliminary round by Korea Republic’s Choi Hyojoo (11-6, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8). Saki Shibata commenced play in Linz in the no.20 spot (179 points).

Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles event, Germany’s Benedikt Duda and Qiu Dang strengthened their claim for a place in the Grand Finals; they beat Austria’s Martin Radel and Thomas Ziller (11-5, 11-4, 11-5) to maintain their no.7 spot (363 points). Somewhat differently the pairing of Poland’s Jakub Dyjas and Cédric Nuytinck kept their outside aspirations alive; they caused an upset of note by beating Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Koki Niwa (11-6, 11-7, 11-7) to claim their main draw berth. They now stand at an effective no.10 position (182 points) and will need a semi-final finish to reach the Finals.

Similarly, in the women’s doubles, Singapore’s Lin Ye and Yu Mengyu kept faint hopes simmering; they beat Spain’s Galia Dvorak and Sofia-Xuan Zhang (11-5, 11-6, 11-6) to secure their main draw place but they will need to reach the final to qualify for Zhengzhou.

Testing times await those whose hopes remain alive; in the women’s singles event, Gu Yuting faces Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.8 seed. In the men’s doubles Benedikt Duda and Qiu Dang oppose colleagues Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska, the no.5 seeds; Jakub Dyjas and Cédric Nuytinck confront China’s Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin.

Tough tasks it is the same for Lin Ye and Yu Mengyu, they face Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.2 seeds.

Gu Yuting is just one place below the borderline in the women’s singles standings (Photo: Rémy Gros)
World Tour 2019 Austrian Open Lee Sangsu Jeoung Youngsik

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Day 4 - 2019 ITTF World Tour Austrian Open