by Ian Marshall, Editor
The goal in the initial group phase, a top two finish and thus progress to join the top eight seeds in the main draw; Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.17 seed, excelled all expectations.
He accounted for Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no.12 seed, in his opening encounter (11-13, 9-11, 11-8, 14-12, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8), prior to overcoming Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.14 seed (11-3, 12-10, 7-11, 16-14, 8-11, 11-8) to seal top place.
Notably, prior to their meetings in Chengdu, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran had played Simon Gauzy and Jonathan Groth, each on three occasions in world ranking events, he had lost all six matches!
Top spot for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, it was second place for Simon Gauzy; he beat Jonathan Groth in five games (11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-2).
Main draw place at first attempt
A place in the main draw at the first attempt for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran; it was the same for Austria’s Daniel Habesohn, the no.19 seed.
After mounting a brave recovery against Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.9 seed and highest rated player on duty in the initial phase but just falling short in the decider (11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8), Daniel Habesohn overcame Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.13 seed and three times Men’s World Cup winner (11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 5-11, 7-11, 11-5).
Defeat for Vladimir Samsonov signalled the end of the road; one match earlier he had suffered at the hands of Dimitrij Ovtcharov (11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6), a group that was very much a repeat of the CCB Europe Top 16 tournament earlier in the year. On that occasion Dimitrij Ovtcharov had beaten Vladimir Samsonov in the final, after the Belarusian had recorded a semi-final success against Daniel Habesohn.
Notably it was the first ever success for Daniel Habesohn on the international stage when facing Vladimir Samsonov. In their one other previous meeting prior to the CCB Europe Top 16, he had experienced defeat on the ITTF World Tour in 2008 in Singapore.
Again first win
First wins for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Daniel Habesohn, it was the same for Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson, the no.15 seed; in his one prior meeting against Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.11 seed, he had experienced an opening round defeat in four straight games at the 2015 ITTF World Tour Polish Open.
In Chengdu, he totally reversed the decision, he prevailed without the loss of a single game (12-10, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9).
Success for Kristian Karlsson against Quadri Aruna was followed by success in opposition to Australia’s Heming Hu, the no.20 seed (8-11, 11-2, 11-8, 15-13, 11-8). Top spot in the group for Kristian Karlsson, it was second place for Quadri Aruna, in the opening contest Nigeria’s favourite son had beaten Heming Hu in straight games (11-6, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6).
Final group orders not as seeding advised, in the group featuring Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu, Kanak Jha of the United States and Egypt’s Omar Assar, matters concluded as per status quo.
Lee Sangsu, the no.10 seed, beat Omar Assar, the no.18 seed (14-12, 11-9, 11-8, 13-15, 11-6), followed by success in opposition to Kanak Jha, the no.16 seed (9-11, 11-8, 13-15, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6). Defeat for Kanak Jha but he concluded the group in high spirits, he accounted for Omar Assar in six games (15-17, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9) to reserve second place and progress to the main draw.
The first round and quarter-finals will be played on Saturday 30th November.
Fan Zhendong (China) v Daniel Habesohn (Austria)
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (India) v Timo Boll (Germany)
Lin Yun-Ju (Chinese Taipei) v Kristian Karlsson (Sweden)
Kanak Jha (United States) v Hugo Calderano (Brazil)
Tomokazu Harimoto (Japan) v Quadri Aruna (Nigeria)
Lee Sangsu (Korea Republic) v Koki Niwa (Japan)
Mattias Falck (Sweden) v Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany)
Simon Gauzy (France) v Ma Long (China)