by Kabir Nagpal
Somewhat unpredictable, Koki Niwa performed admirably at the recent T2 Diamond in Singapore and at the Chengdu Airlines 2019 ITTF Men’s World Cup; on both occasions he suffered a quarter-final exit at the hands of colleague, Tomokazu Harimoto.
In Singapore he lost in six games (6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-5, 5-3), in Chengdu in a tense full distance contest (11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 10-12, 12-14, 11-3, 11-8).
Likewise early in the year in April, at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships, he reached the quarter-finals, as in Chengdu he suffered in seven games. He lost to China’s Liang Jingkun (12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 11-5).
A last eight finish; in fact that is his best of the year, only once on the 2019 ITTF World Tour did he reached the quarter-finals, that being in Austria last month. Otherwise in a total of 11 appearances, he departed proceedings on five occasions in the second round and the same number in the opening round.
Furthermore, on his one ITTF Challenge Series excursion, in Paraguay in September, he bid farewell at the first hurdle.
The effect of his results is that he did not gain one of the 16 places in the end of year Grand Finals; thus it will be the New Year before we will not see him display his quite remarkable skills on the international arena.
We wish him a quick recovery.