by Kabir Nagpal
Men’s Singles: Round of 16
A topsy turvy start to the day saw top seed Xu Xin face off against 14th seed, Hong Kong China’s Wong Chun Ting.
Xu had beaten Wong in nine of their ten previous meetings on the international stage and looked set on doing that after taking the first two games 11-6 and 11-1. Then bad turned to worse for Wong, who slipped and ended up having to withdraw from the event due to injury, sending the Chinese through to the quarter-finals.
Over at the next table, host nation’s Clarence Chew confronted Tomokazu Harimoto from Japan, who was seeded third for the event in Singapore. The 16th seeded Chew, who is ranked no. 276 in the world, had Harimoto sweating when he levelled at 1-1 and then threatened gained parity in the fourth game, but the world no. 5 ended up winning the tie 4-1 (11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-10, 5-2), needing only the one FAST5 game in the end.
Coming up next at 19:00 local time onwards are tasty match-ups, such as Patrick Franziska (GER) vs Lee Sangsu (KOR) and Hugo Calderano (BRA) vs Koki Niwa (JPN).
Women’s Singles: Round of 16
Japan’s athletes were in a joyful mood here in Singapore this morning it seems, as Hitomi Sato beat eighth seed Wang Yidi 4-1 (11-8, 11-8, 11-10, 3-5, 5-2), surprising her opponent with a sustained attack of forehands which were often directed to the wide extremities of the table.
As a result of the long rallies in play, there was a need for a couple of FAST5 games at the end, one of which China’s Wang used to put doubt in the mind of Sato. Ultimately, the 13th seeded Japanese won a FAST5 game of her own to wrap up the win and move on to the quarter-finals.
Next up was an all-Chinese domestic battle with Zhu Yuling and Wang Manyu clashing swords. Zhu, who was champion at T2 Diamond Malaysia in July, had a battle on her hands from the start against her compatriot. Despite taking the first two games against, 11th seed Zhu saw fourth seed Wang hit back with a game of her own to send the tie into FAST5.
This proved to be the key turning point in the match, as Wang lost the first FAST5 game before going on to win the next three, befuddling the crowd, the viewers from around the world as well as her opponent. The scoreline read a valiant 4-3 (10-11, 5-11, 11-10, 1-5, 5-4, 5-0, 5-4) win in favour of the 20 year old, who is now set to face either Singapore’s very own Yu Mengyu or China’s Chen Xingtong in the quarter-final.
In the other upcoming round of 16 battles, there is an eye-catching all-Japanese match-up when Mima Ito plays friend and double’s teammate Kasumi Ishikawa. Stay tuned at ITTF.com for more updates!