Defeats avenged, Korea duo cause major upsets
Causing major upsets, the Korea Republic emerged the nation with the greatest reason to celebrate when the opening day of play, Thursday 19th November, concluded at the Bank of Communications 2020 ITTF Finals in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou.
Conversely, on the receiving end, Japan had the greatest reason for sorrow.
In the opening match of the whole tournament, Suh Hyowon, the no.16 seed and the lowest ranked player in the women’s event, accounted for Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.7 seed (11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5).
Two hours later as morning turned to afternoon, in the men’s event, Jang Woojin, the no.14 seed, escaped from the very brink of defeat to end the hopes of Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.4 seed. He was down three games to one, trailed 8-10 in the fifth, won four points in a row and changed the moment of the contest (6-11, 2-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 11-2, 11-5).
Outstanding from Suh Hyowon and Jang Woojin; moreover, there was the added ingredient of revenge.
At the recent Dishang 2020 ITTF Women’s World Cup, in their opening round encounter, Suh Hyowon had been overwhelmed by Kasumi Ishikawa in straight games (11-8, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4). In a rather more closely contest bronze medal match at the counterpart Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup, Tomokazu Harimoto had beaten Jang Woojin in seven games (7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 14-12, 6-11, 11-5); an engagement with a distinct similarity the Weihai affair, note the importance of fifth game.
Success for the Korea Republic but there was also disappointment, China halting progress. In the men’s singles opening round, Fan Zhendong, the top seed, beat Jeoung Youngsik, the no.11 seed (11-6, 11-2, 11-5, 11-7); at the same stage of the women’s competition, Jeon Jihee, the no.11 seed, lost to Sun Yingsha, the no.3 seed (12-10, 11-8, 11-7, 11-4).
Similarly, for Japan, the host nation ended hopes. In the women’s competition Miyu Kato, the no.15 seed, was beaten by Chen Meng, the top seed (11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4), Hitomi Sato, the no.12 seed lost to Wang Manyu, the no.4 seed (11-6, 16-14, 11-7, 11-7).
Thus for the Land of the Rising Sun, Koki Niwa and Mima Ito fly the flag. Both start their schedules on Friday 20th November. Koki Niwa, the no.10 seed, faces China’s Lin Gaoyuan, the no.5 seed; Mima Ito, the no.2 seed, confronts Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.10 seed.
Progress for the hosts and there was further progress; wins as predicted.
Impressively, Wang Yidi, the no.8 seed, booked her quarter-final women’s place by overcoming Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.9 seed (11-3, 14-12, 11-7, 11-7). Equally in unrelenting form, in the men’s event both Xu Xin, the no.2 seed and Ma Long, the no.3 seed, opened their accounts in style. Xu Xin defeated Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.16 seed (12-10, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5), Ma Long ended the hopes of Germany’s Patrick Franziska, the no. 13 seed (12-10, 11-1, 11-6, 11-4).
Wins as status anticipated but, in addition to the efforts of Suh Hyowon and Jang Woojin, there was one more surprise outcome. Alas for Singapore’s Feng Tianwei it was an unexpected first round exit for the second consecutive time. At the Dishang 2020 Women’s World Cup, she had lost to Lily Zhang of the United States (11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 13-11); in Zhengzhou, the no.6 seed, she was beaten by Germany’s Petrissa Solja, the no.14 seed (11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9).
An upset or was it? Commencing with the 2015 ITTF Women’s World Cup in Sendai, Petrissa Solja has won the most recent three meetings.
Meanwhile, in the remaining matches concluded on the opening day of play, in the men’s singles, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.6 seed, accounted for England’s Liam Pitchford, the no.12 seed (11-4, 11-4, 13-11, 12-10); Sweden’s Mattias Falck, the no.8 seed, ousted Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no.15 seed (12-10, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5).
The first round and quarter-finals of both the men’s and women’s events will be played to a conclusion on Friday 20th November.
Editor: Ian Marshall