Tournaments

24 Jun 2020

Initially scheduled from Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th June, with qualification action starting two days prior, this marks the week the 2020 ITTF World Tour Australian Open was planned to be held before its confirmed suspension due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

For fans missing the Aussie table tennis magic, here are ten key moments from last year’s trip Down Under:

by Simon Daish

Jonathan Groth stuns Jun Mizutani at first hurdle (Men’s Singles: Round 1)

Unseeded for the draw, Jonathan Groth was forced to open his campaign in the qualification rounds which he successfully navigated. However, it was the Dane’s Round of 32 encounter that really caught the eye!

Facing one of the sport’s leading names in Rio 2016 bronze medallist Jun Mizutani, Groth defied the odds to topple the no.13 seed across six games in a thrilling match (13-11, 11-8, 9-11, 3-11, 17-15, 13-11).

Jonathan Groth stuns local crowd with opening round upset (Photo: APAC / Sport Media)
Yui Hamamoto breaks Aussie hearts with incredible comeback (Women’s Singles: Round 1)

In the corresponding round of the women’s singles event there was an epic clash between Austria’s Yui Hamamoto and the host nation’s Jian Fang Lay.

Dramatic from start to finish the local crowd experienced an emotional roller coaster ride with excitement and elation turning to disappointment – trailing 0-3, Hamamoto won four games on the bounce to prevent her Australian counterpart from making the top 16 with a sensational 4-3 comeback win (8-11, 3-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4).

Jian Fang Lay narrowly misses out in seven-game epic (Photo: APAC / Sport Media)
Patrick Franziska stuns Fan Zhendong (Men’s Singles: Round 2)

The early round upsets didn’t let up with a number of big-name players falling sooner than anticipated, one of whom was none other than top seed Fan Zhendong.

On the other end of the Chinese star’s dismay was an ecstatic German competitor in Patrick Franziska, who recovered well from an early setback to see off Fan by a 4-2 score-line (8-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7). Franziska would later go on to account for World Championships runner-up Mattias Falck to reserve an admirable top four finish in Geelong.

Chen Meng suffers same fate (Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals)

Fan Zhendong’s elimination most certainly caused a stir, but few could have foreseen the same fate unfolding in the women’s singles draw as World no.1 Chen Meng exited the race on the very same day!

Four games into her quarter-final fixture, Chen looked to have one foot in the last four with a seemingly unassailable lead. Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa had other plans though, launching a fantastic comeback bid which proved successful (6-11, 6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5). Further adding to the scale of the upsets, Chen and Fan would go on to be crowned 2019 World Tour Grand Finals champions later in the year.

Kasumi Ishikawa claimed a major scalp with her elimination of Chen Meng (Photo: APAC / Sport Media)
History-making Koreans retain title (Men’s Doubles: Final)

Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu pulled off a repeat of their gold medal performance from one year earlier as the Korean duo once again stood atop the men’s doubles podium Down Under.

Defending champions and top seeds, the Koreans had plenty going for them heading into the final but did the result come slightly against the odds? Facing off against Lin Gaoyuan and World champion Ma Long, Jeoung and Lee dropped a combined total of just 20 points to prevail in straight games (11-6, 11-8, 11-6). Success meant Jeoung and Lee became the first pair to win back-to-back Australian Open men’s doubles titles in the history of the event!

Third gold for Chen Meng and Wang Manyu (Women’s Doubles: Final)

The women’s doubles title decider played out in opposite fashion to the men’s final as China emerged victorious over Korea Republic.

Top seeds Chen Meng and Wang Manyu collected their third ITTF World Tour doubles crown as a partnership after inflicting a 3-1 defeat upon second seeds Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun (11-6, 11-3, 8-11, 11-6). Jeon and Yang enjoyed a trouble-free path to the final, negotiating the opening three rounds without dropping a single game but in the final itself the Koreans were simply outplayed.

Chen Meng and Wang Manyu enjoying their third success as a pair (Photo: APAC / Sport Media)
Hong Kong China pair at the double (Mixed Doubles: Final)

Title winners at the 2019 Korea Open in Busan, the Hong Kong China pair of Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem made it back-to-back mixed doubles successes on the ITTF World Tour with their gold medal finish in Geelong.

Second seeds Wong and Doo were made to work hard for the honour with first time finalists Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito putting up a brave effort. However, in a best of five encounter only the four games were required as Wong and Doo emerged as champions (5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-9).

Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem pictured with the mixed doubles plate (Photo: APAC / Sport Media)
Future star Wang Chuqin brushes World champion aside (Men’s Singles: Semi-Finals)

Praised for his excellent work alongside Ma Long in their title-winning men’s doubles campaign at the 2019 World Championships, it didn’t take long for Wang Chuqin to once again make the headlines, this time with victory over Ma in Geelong!

Just 19 years of age at the time, Wang stepped up to produce one of his best performance’s to date, powering past the World and Olympic champion in six games (11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8) to reach his first Platinum series final.

Sun Yingsha from qualifier to champion yet again (Women’s Singles: Final)

Few achievements in table tennis rank higher than an unseeded qualifier winning a Platinum series event, but Sun Yingsha seems to have a knack for it as she proved once again at the 2019 Australian Open.

Starting her journey in the qualification tournament, Sun battled past eight players on her way to the final where she eventually bested Ding Ning for the first time by a thunderous 4-0 margin (11-1, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9). 2017 and 2019 Japan Open champion, this marked the third time Sun had emerged as champion having opened her account in qualification action.

Xu Xin ‘cloudwalks’ to title no.17 (Men’s Singles: Final)

Unstoppable one year previous in Geelong, Xu Xin’s name was printed on the Australian Open trophy yet again in 2019 as the ‘cloudwalker’ collected his 17th ITTF World Tour men’s singles title!

A man in form, having won in Sapporo and Busan in the weeks leading up to Geelong, Xu survived a huge test against Patrick Franziska in the semi-finals, but was much more assured at the final hurdle. Meeting surprise finalist Wang Chuqin, Xu needed just the four games to retain his title as Australian Open champion (11-6, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8).

Xu Xin knows what it takes to prevail Down Under (Photo: APAC / Sport Media)
Features xu xin Chen Meng Wang Manyu Sun Yingsha Patrick Franziska Lee Sangsu Wong Chun Ting Jeoung Youngsik Doo Hoi Kem Wang Chuqin Jonathan Groth Jian Fang Lay
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