by Kabir Nagpal
Men’s Singles: Lin in cruise control
The morning at the Our Tampines Hub was an exciting one for the fans, as Sweden’s Mattias Falck faced China’s Lin Gaoyuan; this round of 16 match up started brightly for Lin, he took the first three games in style, leaving Falck in doubt about his tactic of charging at the Chinese with dipping forehands.
Despite his fourth game win, Falck was unable to stop Lin from securing a place in the last eight, as FAST5 kicked in and resulted in a 4-1 win for Lin (11-8, 11-9, 11-10, 9-11, 5-4).
Lin’s compatriot Liang Jingkun had a completely different morning as he and Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik played out one of the thrillers of T2 Diamond history. Jeoung was the first in control racing to a 3-1 lead by the time the clock reached 24 minutes, and FAST5 games arrived.
From thereon, Liang pushed back with a powerful display, timing his shots to perfection with the short-format aiding his style. Going into the seventh and final game, it seemed like Liang had done enough to secure a quarter-final spot but Jeoung had other ideas. The final score may have read 4-3 (11-5, 11-10, 7-11, 11-3, 4-5, 2-5, 5-3) but this was a match where both athletes were equal in ability.
Next up from 7.00 pm (local time) onwards, defending champion Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju plays Jeoung’s teammate Jang Woojin while Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov faces Japan’s Jun Mizutani.
Women’s Singles: Sun rises against Cheng
Top seed for the women’s singles, Sun Yingsha was in action to kick off the afternoon against Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.14 seed. The teenager from China has been in imperious form of late, winning the German Open; her combined speed and finesse style of play and she showed no signs of any change today.
Winning the match 4-1 (11-9, 11-2, 9-11, 11-6, 5-1) there was barely a moment where Sun looked off the pace, no matter how much Cheng tried to push her back with long rallies across the table. Even in the FAST5 game, Sun raced to the five points and stepped into the final eight in-form.
China’s Olympic Games champion Ding Ning confronted compatriot He Zhuojia next, with the 12th seed unable to hold her own against the ‘Queen of Hearts’. Needing no more than five games, Ding was colossally good as she took apart the blocking defensive style with which He tried to dictate the tie.
Sixth seeded Ding eventually succeeded 4-1 (11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 5-2) and will now play another Chinese youngster in Sun Yingsha, as the two athletes go head-to-head again for a place in the semi-finals.
Finishing up the first round matches for women’s singles later today is the host nation’s Feng Tianwei versus China’s world no.1 Chen Meng; additionally Japan’s Miu Hirano plays Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee.