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MS WS U21- ITTF Challenge DPR Korea Open


ITTF Challenge DPR Korea Open

Friday 4th August


Recovery achieved, recovery thwarted

A second round appearance earlier this year at both the Seamaster 2017 ITTF Asian Championships in Wuxi and at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf; Ri Mi Gyong suffered a somewhat surprise quarter-final Women’s Singles exit at the ITTF Pyongyang Challenge Open on the morning of Friday 4th August.

Presently listed at no.76 on the Women’s World Rankings, the 26 year old was beaten by 23 year old colleague, Choe Hyon Hwa, named at no.125 in the global order; she was beaten in one of three last eight contests decided by the minimal margin in the decisive fifth game.

Ri Mi Gyong appeared to be en route to a straight games win; she won the first three games, all by the minimal two point margin, before Cha Hyo Sim responded to secure the next four to seal the victory (9-11, 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3, 12-10, 11-9).

Likewise, it was success by the closest of decisions for 24 year old Choe Hyon Hwa in opposition to Kim Nam Hae but somewhat of a reverse when compared with the duel between Cha Hyo Sim and Ri Mi Gyong. Choe Hyon Hwa, presently listed at no.70 on the Women’s World Rankings, withstood a spirited recovery by Kim Nam Hae to secure victory (11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9).

Furthermore, it was arguably an outcome that could be predicted. In the qualification group phase of proceedings in Pyongyang; in 2015 Kim Nam Hae had beaten Choe Hyon Hwa; last year at the same stage the decision had been reversed.

Withstanding a recovery, it was the very same for Kim Sol Song against Kim Jin Hyang; she won the first three games, lost the next three before imposing her authority on proceedings to win the decider (11-7, 11-7, 11-4, 5-11, 2-11, 10-12, 11-5).

Nervous moments but not for Kim Song I, the leading name on duty in an event that witnessed all eight quarter-finalists from DPR Korea; she was the exception to the rule.

Listed at no.25 on the current Women’s World Rankings, the 22 year old beat Jong Un Ju in four straight games (11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4).

At the semi-final stage, Kim Song I meets Choe Hyon Hwa; in the opposite half of the draw, Cha Hyo Sim faces Kim Sol Song.

The penultimate round matches will be played on Saturday 5th August.


ITTF Challenge DPR Korea Open

Friday 4th August


Recent champions, differing fortunes

The top step of the podium reserved in 2015, it was defeat for Choe Il at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Pyongyang Open on the early afternoon of Friday 4th August.

Conversely for the player he beat in the title decider two years ago, it was success; Pak Sin Hyok emerged victorious as did the winner one year ago, Kang Wi Hun.

Choe Il was beaten by Ro Kwang Jin in a contest that was to prove the closest of the round, a six games margin of victory was the verdict in his favour (12-10, 5-11, 11-13, 14-12, 12-10, 15-13).

A recovery from two games to one in arrears; there were no such revivals needed by Kang Wi Hun, nor by Pak Sin Hyok. Kang Wi Hun beat Kim Song Gun (11-6, 11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6); Pak Sin Hyok continued his dominance over Ro Hyon Song. In Pyongyang in both 2015 and 2016, Pak Sin Hyok had beaten Ro Hyon Song; in 2017 he made it three in a row. He emerged successful in four straight games (11-4, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6).

All DPR Korean contests, in the one round of last eight matches that featured a player from foreign shores, it was success for the hosts, thus guaranteeing the title would once again rest in the hands of the home nation.

Kim Hyong Jin beat Iran’s Arya Amiri in four straight games (11-8, 11-2, 11-6, 11-6).

At the semi-final stage Pak Sin Hyok meets Ro Kwang Jin; Kang Wi Hun confronts Kim Hyong Jin.

The semi-finals of the Men’s Singles event will be played on Saturday 5th August as will the penultimate round of the Men’s Doubles competition; an event which, as the Men’s Singles, is destined for the hosts.

Choe Il and Pak Sin Hyok face Hwang Chun Nam and Ri Kwang Myong; Kang Wi Hun and Sim Un Song oppose Ham Yu Song and Kim Song Gun. In the one quarter-final contest required, Hwang Chun Nam and Ri Kwang Myong overcame colleagues Kim Jin Su and Ro Kwang Jin (11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8).

Highest ranked, Ri Hyon Sim imposes authority

The leading player on duty in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Pyongyang Open, Ri Hyon Sim duly reserved her place in the semi-finals following success on Friday 4th August.

Furthermore, she reserved her place in an impressive manner.

Presently listed at no.45 on the Under 21 Women’s World Rankings, the 19 year old accounted for colleague, So Kuk Hwa in three straight games in their quarter-final encounter (11-3, 11-5, 11-4).

An impressive performance, it was the same in remaining quarter-final encounters which likewise witnessed all DPR Korean affairs. Kim Jinyu beat Choe Hyon Hwa (7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5); Kim Jin Hyang accounted for Cha Su Yong (11-13, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9), whilst Ko Un Gum defeated O Jin Hui (11-5, 11-5, 11-7).

At the semi-final stage Ri Hyon Sim beat Kim Jinju; Kim Jin Hyang accounted for Ko Un Gum.

Meanwhile, at the quarter-final stage, a repeat performance was very much the highlight of the round. One year ago in Pyongyang in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event, Pang Un Chol beat Jong Ui in the both the group qualification stage and in the quarter-finals. One year later he repeated the feat but only just; he accounted for Jong Ui in a five games contest determined by the very narrowest of decisions (12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10).

A close contest, the remaining last eight engagements were more clear cut.

Kim Ok Chan beat Ri Jong Sik (11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8), U Tae Ryong overcame Ji Yu Yong (11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5), whilst Choe Kyong Guk overcame Ri Kang Guk (5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7).

Last four places decided, at the semi-final stage Kim Ok Chan meets Pang Un Chol, U Tae Ryong opposes Choe Kyong Guk.

The semi-finals and finals of the Under 21 Men’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles events will be played on Saturday 5th August.