Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum Lion Japan Open
Thursday 13th June
Sun Wen and Yuki Hirano, young men in form
China’s Sun Wen and the host nation’s Yuki Hirano were very much the players in form in the final preliminary round of the men’s singles event at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum Lion Japan Open in Sapporo on Thursday 13th June.
Listed at no.599 on the current men's world rankings, Sun Wen beat Egypt's Omar Assar, named at no.65 (13-15, 12-10, 11-3, 11-4, 11-8); Yuki Hirano accounted for Portugal's Tiago Apolonia (11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 12-10). Yuki Hirano is listed at no.126 on the men's world rankings, Tiago Apolonia at no.43.
Meanwhile, as the day closed, Germany's Ruwen Filus ended the hopes of India's Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (11-8, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8), at no.24 on the current men's world rankings, the second highest rated player on qualification stage duty. Ruwen Filus is presently listed at no.83 in the world order.
Major upsets but not where the leading name was concerned. Also from Japan, Yuya Oshima overcame Korea Republic’s Cho Deokhwa (11-9, 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7) to reserve his place in the main draw.
Similarly, in the women’s singles event, the top name and winner in 2017, China’s Sun Yingsha beat Portugal’s Shao Jieni (11-2, 11-1, 5-11, 7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4) to progress to the next stage. However for colleague, Wang Yidi, successful four days earlier in Hong Kong, it was defeat. She was beaten in the third preliminary round by Chinese national team colleague, Wu Yang (11-7, 11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9).
Fine performances but the performance of the day belonged to Hong Kong’s Lee Ho Ching. In the third round of the women’s singles event, she came back from the brink; she saved match point after match point before eventually overcoming Korea Republic’s Kim Hayeong (11-9, 13-15, 11-6, 10-12, 6-11, 16-14, 11-7).
Notable performances, it was the same from the Japanese teenagers Myuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki. Both excelled to secure main draw places. Miyuu Kihara beat Hong Kong’s Zhu Chengzhu (11-9, 11-7, 13-11, 11-5), Miyu Nagasaki accounted for Hungary’s Szandra Pergel (12-10, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9).
Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles preliminary round there was a somewhat surprise defeat for Korea Republic's Kim Daewoo and Kim Donghyun; they were beaten by Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador and Daniel Gonzalez (11-9, 11-7, 11-9).
Problems for Korea Republic, it was not so for Japan; in the one women’s doubles preliminary round match required, Japan’s Haruna Ojio and Yumeno Soma used their defensive skills to good effect to reserve their main draw place. They beat Serbia's Sabina Surjan and Izabela Lupulesku (9-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8). Likewise, Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata progressed in the mixed doubles courtesy of success against Puerto Rico's Daniel Gonzalez and Melanie Diaz (11-8, 11-7, 11-9).
The main draw starts on Friday 14th June.
By Ian Marshall, Editor
Photo Credit: ITTF