Victor for Japan’s 18 year old Maharu Yoshimura over Iran’s 20 year old Noshad Alamiyan brought the second day of play, Saturday 7th April 2012, at the GAC Toyota (Camry) Asian Cup in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, to a conclusion in manner that kept the whole crowd in the Tianhe Gymnasium totally spellbound.
Earlier in the evening they had applauded the efforts of their own as Liu Shiwen and Wu Yang followed by Xu Xin posted relatively comfortable victories.
However, it was the duel with no Chinese player in sight that captivated the faithful as Noshad Alamiyan saved one match in the fifth game before eventually surrendering in the decisive seventh.
Maharu Yoshimura won 8-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9, 11-13, 7-11, 11-7.
It was perhaps not the contest for the purist but what does that matter?
The duel was exciting, there were errors littered with stunning returns and innovation.
Noshad Alamiyan when forced away from the table; instead of playing a backhand lobbed return changed from left to right hand to execute a forehand!
Equally, Maharu Yoshimura was not to be outdone in the entertainment stakes; he employed a totally innovate service action.
The start of the forehand service stroke commenced so far around the back of his body that it seemed he had telescopic arms; Noshad Almiyan could clearly see the start of the action before the racket disappeared around the back of Maharu Yoshimura’s body and then reappeared in the normal way.
It was about the same length as Xu Xin’s forehand top spot.
Short Reverse Service
There was nothing illegal about the service and it did reap dividends as did the short reverse serve in Timo Boll mode delivered by Noshad Alamiyan.
Both young men were a credit to the sport, they both gave their best, they acknowledged any faint edge; simply it was hard but fair, true sport.
Cut and Thrust
Furthermore, the duel was enacted at breakneck speed; the umpire hardly had time to call the score before the next service was executed and perhaps there was the slight failing.
A more experienced international would undoubtedly have taken more time when preparing to serve; errors came through rushing.
However, the speed of the contest kept the crowd engrossed with the attractive dancing girls hardly having time to perform their routine between games before the gladiators re-appeared.
Three Comfortable Wins
In comparison, the three previous semi-final encounters were relatively tame.
The Women’s Singles event saw the host nation’s top seeded, Liu Shiwen, beat Korea’s Dang Ye Seo in four straight games (13-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4) before compatriot and second seed, Wu Yang proved too stout in defence for Singapore’s Li Jiawei.
Wu Yang won in five games (16-14, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4); the same margin by which Xu Xin accounted for Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi in the first Men’s Singles semi-final.
Xu Xin, the top seed, won 11-5, 11-8, 12-14, 11-7, 11-3.
The leading names in the Men’s Singles event at the GAC Toyota (Camry) Asian Cup in Guangzhou duly emerged successful in the first stage of proceedings on Friday 6th April 2012.
China’s Xu Xin and Wang Liqin, the respective top two seeds, both finished in first place in their group as did Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, the third seed; none was ever in danger of defeat.
However, in the Women’s Singles event matters were slightly different; with Korea’s Dang Ye Seo rediscovering her form.
China’s Liu Shiwen and Wu Yang, the top two seeds, remained unscathed but there were problems for Singapore’s Li Jiawei.
Successful in her opening contest against Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching; Li Jiawei was beaten in her second contest by Korea’s Dang Ye Seo by the narrowest of margins in the deciding fifth game (11-8, 8-11, 10-12, 11-6, 15-13).
It was a welcome victory for the Korean; in her opening contest, she has suffered defeat at the hands of Japan’s Saki Tashiro (11-2, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9).
Top Place for Korean
One win and one defeat apiece; the two protagonists finished their first phase matches in style; Li Jiawei beat Saki Tashiro (11-2, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9) and Dang Ye Seo accounted for Cheng I-Ching (5-11, 11-1, 11-4, 11-8). Each finished the group with two wins each; in situations where two players are level, it is the result between the two players that is taken into consideration.
Therefore, Dang Ye Seo finished in first place, with Li Jiawei in second spot; third place went to Cheng I-Ching with Saki Tashiro, who had caused a major upset in the first series of matches, by beating Dang Yeo Seo, eventually having to settle for fourth place.
A close finish in Group C in the Women’s Singles event and it was the same in Group B and Group D.
In Group B, Wu Yang finished clear of the field, unbeaten on all three visits to the table but games ratio was needed to determine second place.
Singapore’s Yu Mengyu bt Hong Kong’s Lee Ho Ching (9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 15-13), Lee Ho Ching defeated Japan’s Misaki Morizono (3-11, 13-11, 16-14, 11-8) with Japan’s Misaki Morizono accounting for Yu Mengyu (11-8, 7-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-4). On games ratio, it was second place for Lee Ho Ching, ahead of Yu Mengyu and Misaki Morizono.
Games Ratio Decides Top Place
Second place decided on games ratio, in Group D, it was first place that needed calculators.
Iran’s Neda Shahsavari beat India’s Divya Deshpande (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8) but lost to Malaysia’s Beh Lee Wei (11-9, 11-5, 11-8), whilst Divya Deshpande overcame Beh Lee Wei (11-9, 10-12, 11-9). The end result was first place and a place in the Challenge Round for Divya Deshpande. She finished in first place ahead of Beh Lee Wei and Neda Shahsavari; all three overcame Iran’s Maryam Alqasimi.
Close calls but in Group A, life was more straightforward; Liu Shiwen finished in first place, followed by Korea’s Seok Ha Jung, Hog Kong’s Ng Wing Nam and Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu.
Similarly, in the first stage of the Men’s Singles event, there were close finishes to decide second place.
In Group A, there was no stopping Xu Xin but after causing the biggest upset of the day when beating Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi (11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 9-11, 11-9), it was sadness for India’s Subhajit Saha. He was beaten by Taku Takakiwa (11-4, 11-5, 12-10), who in the concluding match of the group lost to Jiang Tianyi (11-9, 11-6, 11-8).
The end result on games ratio was second place for Jiang Tianyi, with Taku Takakiwa in third place and Subhajit Saha fourth.
Equally, Group B followed the same pattern in the Men’s Singles event.
Wang Liqin remained unbeaten but Singapore’s Li Hu, after overcoming Hong Kong’s Wong Chun-Ting (11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6) lost to Korea’s Lee Sang Su (12-10, 11-13, 12-10, 11-7) who one match earlier had been beaten by Hong Kong’s Wong Chun-Ting (11-9, 13-11, 7-11, 2-11, 11-1).
Three players level with one win each, on games ratio, Lee Sang Su secured second place ahead of Wong Chun-Ting and Li Hu.
Mathematics needed to determine the final places but not in Group D where Chuang Chih-Yuan reigned supreme.
However, for Korea’s Seo Hyun Deok, the second highest rated player in the group; it was a day to forget. He failed to register a single victory with Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura finishing in second place and Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan third.
The reigning Commonwealth Men’s Doubles champion in harness with Sharath Kamal Achanta, India’s Subhajit Saha, was the player to set matters alight as proceedings commenced in the GAC Toyota (Camry) Asian Cup in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on the morning of Friday 6th April 2012.
Staged in the Tianhe Gymnasium, the 29 year old from Kolkata in West Bengal, currently listed at no.265 on the Men’s World Rankings, totally belied his global status.
He accounted for Hong Kong’s 24 year old Jiang Tianyi, currently standing over two hundred places higher at no.18 on the world list, in a full distance five games duel (11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 9-11, 11-9).
Japanese Duo Hit Form
The win enhances his chances of a place in the quarter-finals and was one of three upsets of note as matters commenced in the Tianhe Gymnasium with Japan being the country to raise the eyebrows.
In the Men’s Singles event, 18 year old Maharu Yoshimura, currently listed at no.135 on the World Rankings, recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Korea’s 20 year old Seo Hyun Deok (6-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8); whilst in the counterpart Women’s Singles event, 21 year old Saki Tashiro was the players to upset the pecking order.
Strong Top Spin Play
Attacking strongly with heavy top spin from both wings; eventually she found a rhythm to her player and, like Maharu Yoshimura, recovered from losing the first two games.
Listed at no.144 on the Women’s World Rankings, she accounted for Korea’s Dang Ye Seo (8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8); presently 30 year old Dang Ye Seo stands at no.33 on the Women’s World Rankings.
Upsets in the very early stages but for the pre-tournament favourites; the top two seeds in each event and all from China, there were no surprises.
In the Men’s Singles event, Xu Xin, the top seed, started his campaign by beating Japan’s Taku Takakiwa (11-6, 11-4, 11-4); whilst compatriot, Wang Liqin, the second seed, defeated Korea’s Lee Sang Su (11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9).
Similarly, in the counterpart Women’s Singles event, the top two names were irrepressible in the opening matches. Liu Shiwen, the no.1 seed, accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu (11-6, 11-4, 11-6) and Wu Yang, the no.2 seed, overcame Japan’s Misaki Morizono (11-8, 11-1, 11-3).
A maximum of two players from one national governing body is permitted in each event, with the tournament being organised in two stages.
The first stage is organised on a group basis with matches being best of five games; the second stage, where matches are best of seven games, commences with the quarter-finals and proceeds on the knock-out formula.
A third place match is part of the itinerary.
Each event has 16 players, although owing to late withdrawals there are only 14 players in the Men’s event.
In each event, there are four groups of an ideal four players each in the first stage.
The highest three world ranked players are drawn into the first three groups, the next three highest ranked and so on.
However, the fourth group is reserved for one representative from each of the following regions: Middle Asia, South Asia, South East Asia and West Asia; the group is termed “Continental Cup”.
At the conclusion of the first stage of proceedings, the players finishing in first and second places in the first three groups proceed to the quarter-finals, the winner of the Continental Cup and the three third placed players from the first three groups compete in a Challenge Round for the remaining two quarter-final places.