LIEBHERR 2019 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Wednesday 24th April
Simon Gauzy causes sensation
The no.29 seed, Frenchman Simon Gauzy caused the biggest upset on the fourth day of play, Wednesday 24th April, at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest; sensationally the 24 year old, who has yet to win an ITTF World Tour title, beat China’s Xu Xin, the no.2 seed, in the second round of the men’s singles event.
In a tension packed atmosphere, he prevailed in six games (11-8, 6-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9).
A stunning win and it creates an intriguing men’s singles situation, all other members of the Chinese national team are in the top half of the draw; the highest rated player remaining in the lower half is that of Japan’s 15 year old Tomokazu Harimoto. The no.4 seed, he beat Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.23 seed (11-8, 14-12, 11-7, 11-7) to reserve his fourth round place and is thus on course to be the youngest ever.
Simon Gauzy outstanding, in the counterpart women’s singles event the player to attract the attention was Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.11 seed; in the fourth round of proceedings she beat Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.5 seed, a contest decided by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game (11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 11-9).
Defeat for Kasumi Ishikawa but no such problems for China, the name to note being Sun Yingsha, the no.24 seed. She ousted Japan’s Mima Ito, the no.6 seed and seen as the biggest threat to China, in the third round (11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 13-15, 11-2). Later she overcame DPR Korea’s Cha Hyo Sim, the no.61 seed (11-7, 11-3, 11-3, 11-7) to reserve her place in the quarter-final.
At the quarter-final stage in all four contests, China is represented; Sun Yingsha faces colleague Wang Manyu, Chen Meng opposes Doo Hoi Kem. In the opposite half of the draw, Japan awaits, Ding Ning plays Miu Hirano, Liu Shiwen opposes Miyu Kato.
Meanwhile, in the mixed doubles event, China is guaranteed a place in the final. Required to qualify at the semi-final stage Fan Zhendong and Ding Ning will face Chinese national team colleagues, Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, the no.3 seeds. In contrasting quarter-final contests, Fan Zhendong and Ding Ning beat Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching, the no.8 seeds, in four straight games (11-1, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8). Conversely, Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen had to recover from a two games to nil deficit against Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee, the no.5 seeds, before emerging successful (10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7).
In the opposite half of the draw, bronze medallist two years ago in Düsseldorf when partnering China’s Fang Bo, once again Germany’s Petrissa Solja is guaranteed a mixed doubles medal. She partnered colleague Patrick Franziska to a quarter-final success against Japan’s Masataksa Morizono and Mima Ito, the no.2 seeds and current Japanese national champions (13-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-13, 15-13, 11-8).
One Japanese pair beaten, for Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja, the no.12 seeds, another such duo awaits; at the semi-final stage they meet Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seeds and defending champions. They beat Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova, the no.7 seeds (6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8) to reserve their place in the penultimate round.
Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles, after the previous day ousting Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, the top seeds, in close seven games duel (11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 13-15, 6-11, 11-9); one day later for the French combination of Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.22 seeds, it was the reverse scenario. Despite a spirited recovery, they were beaten by Germany’s Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska, the no.11 seeds (11-9, 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8).
Narrow margins, it was the same in the lower half of the draw. Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, the no.2 seeds were stretched to the limit by Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Wang Tai-Wei, the no.13 seeds (12-10, 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9).
Meanwhile, in the women’s doubles event, top seeds, Japan's Hina Hayata and Mima Ito beat Chinese Taipei's Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng I-Ching, the no.27 seeds (11-8, 11-7, 11-2, 11-8) to book their quarter-final place. Similarly, Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, the no. 2 seeds emerged successful. They ended the hopes of the host nation; they beat Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, the no.13 seeds (11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-1).
On Thursday 25th April, the fourth round of the men’s singles event will be completed as will the quarter-finals of the women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles competitions in addition to the mixed doubles penultimate round.