Most worthy efforts, Singapore’s Clarence Chew and Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang were very much the players to shine as play commenced in the men’s singles event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Saturday 24th July.
Both upset the odds, a scenario that was matched in the women’s singles event by Thailand’s Orawan Paranang and India’s Sutirtha Mukherjee.
Clarence Chew, the no.57 seed, upset the order of merit by overcoming Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw (11-4, 4-11, 11-3, 13-11, 3-11, 12-10), before Lam Sui Hang followed suit. In one of the most closely contested matches of the day, the no.50 seed, he overcame Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, the no.48 seed (7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-4, 12-14, 11-8).
Similarly, in the women’s singles opening round, Orawan Paranang, the no.49 seed, caused Puerto Rico heartaches; she overcame Melanie Diaz, the no.37 seed (13-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7). Soon after, Sutirtha Mukherjee, the no.52 seed, upset the pecking order. She ended the hopes of Sweden’s Linda Bergström, the no.39 seed (5-11, 11-9, 11-13, 9-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-5).
Wins contrary to seeding, in the opening round of the women’s singles events there were wins according to status.
Adding to Indian success, Manika Batra, the no.37 seed, overcame Great Britain’s Tin-Tin Ho, the no.51 seed (11-7, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9); Korea Republic’s Shin Yubin, the no.44 seed, ended the hopes of Guyana’s Chelsea Edghill, the no.67 seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-1, 12-10).
Success but there were defeats, the only surprise being the reverse suffered by Iran’s Nima Alamian at the hands of Great Britain’s Paul Drinkhall; the British player being the higher seed at no.36 as opposed to Nima Alamian at no.52. However, on their one prior meeting on the international stage, the 2019 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open, the verdict had gone in favour of the Iranian.
Defeat for Nima Alamian; in the men’s singles it was the same for Mongolia’s Lkhagvasuren Enkhabat, the no.69 seed, as it was for Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi, the no.56 seed.
Lkhagvasuren Enkhabat experienced a preliminary round defeat at the hands of Nikhil Kumar of the United States, the no.55 seed (11-2, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8); Ali Alkhadrawi was beaten in the opening round by the Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik, the no.41 seed (11-9, 11-5, 11-4, 11-4).
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, Mongolia’s Bolorerdene Batmunkh, the no.69 seed, recorded a preliminary round win when facing Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci, the no.61 seed (5-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7), prior to experiencing defeat at the hands of Chile’s Paulina Vega, the no.42 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7).
Defeat for Mongolia, it was the same for Kazakhstan; in the second round of the women’s singles, Anastassiya Lavrova, the no.59 seed, lost to Spain’s Maria Xiao, the no.43 seed (11-9, 11-6, 11-4, 7-11, 11-3).
Play in the second round of the men’s singles and women’s singles events commences on Sunday 25th July.
Editor: Ian Marshall
Photo Credit: ITTF