SEAMASTER 2019 ITTF WORLD TOUR PLATINUM CHINA OPEN
Friday 31st May
Cometh the hero, cometh Lin Gaoyuan
A hero, there is nothing better than a local hero; on Friday 31st May at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour China Open, the host nation’s Lin Gaoyuan was just that man.
The no.3 seed, facing Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the winner two years earlier, in their second round men’s singles encounter, he saved no less than nine match points in the deciding seventh game before emerging successful (9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 17-15).
Success for Lin Gaoyuan, he emerged one of five players from the host nation to reserve a men’s singles quarter-final place. Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin the respective top two seeds duly progressed as did Ma Long, the no.11 seed. All advanced as expected, the member of the group to upset the pecking order being Liang Jingkun; the no.9 seed, in the second round he accounted for Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.7 seed (8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6).
Last eight places, the only member of the group to fall short was Yu Ziyang and he came very close to success, he was beaten by Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.5 seed (11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 13-15, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8).
Progress for the host nation there was also progress for Hong Kong in the guise of Wong Chun Tung and for Japan in the frame of Tomokazu Harimoto. In round two he beat Frenchman Simon Gauzy (11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9); Tomokazu Harimoto accounted for England’s Liam Pitchford (11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8).
Impressive from China, it was the same from the host nation in the second round of the women’s singles event. Ding Ning, Zhu Yuling, Chen Meng, Wang Manyu and Liu Shiwen, the top five names, all advanced, the one surprise was Chen Xingtong. The no.14 seed, she accounted for Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.6 seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5). Meanwhile from foreign shores, both Japan’s Mima Ito and Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching booked quarter-final berths. Mima Ito beat Singapore’s Feng Tianwei (11-6, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9), Cheng I-Ching ended the hopes of Romania’s Bernadette Szocs (14-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 13-15, 11-8).
Quarter-finalists known and China to the fore; it is the same in the men’s doubles. Ma Long and Wang Chuqin face Germany’s Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska to determine the title. In the women’s singles final it is an all Chinese affair, Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling confront Gu Yuting and Liu Shiwen.
However, in the mixed doubles, China is notably absent. Xu Xin and Chen Meng, hot favourites for gold, suffered a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching (11-6, 11-9, 11-9); the duo maintained their form to beat Koki Niwa and Mima Ito (13-11, 6-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8) to reach the final, Hong Kong’s top seeded Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem await.
On Saturday 1st June the finals of the men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles events will be played in addition to the men’s singles and women’s singles quarter-finals.
By Ian Marshall, Editor
Photo Credit: ITTF