Seven players who had negotiated the qualification stage of the Men�s Singles event at the China Open in Tianjin started proceedings in the second round on Friday 14th August 2009 full of hope; when the round was completed it was despair.
All seven suffered defeat in a series of exchanges where in each contest the higher world ranked player prevailed.
It was the end of the road for Chinese Taipei�s Chen Chien-An, Russia�s Grigori Vlassov, England�s Andrew Baggaley, China�s Li Ping, Japan�s Koki Niwa and the Koreans Han Ji Min and Kim Gang Woong.
World Champions Meet
Top seed China�s Wang Hao put an end to any aspirations that Chen Chien-An may have harboured in the contest between the reigning World champion and reigning World Junior champion.
Wang Hao won in four straight games 14-12, 13-11, 11-6, 12-10; whilst Japan�s Kenta Matsudaira, a former owner of the World Junior title, defeated Han Ji Min in one game more.
He won 11-5, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4.
In similar vein Hong Kong�s Cheung Yuk, the no.7 seed, defeated Grigori Vlassov with the loss of only a single game (4-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5) whilst also in the top half of the draw, Cheung Yuk�s compatriot, Tang Peng, seeded no.10, defeated Andrew Baggaley.
Tang Peng won in six games (7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10).
A six games win for the higher rated player and it was the same for Korea�s Lee Jung Woo who had to recover from a two games to nil defiocit against Koki Niwa. Eventually the tall Korean left handed penholder won 7-11, 8-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5.
Defeats for five qualifiers in the top half of the draw and reverses for two in the lower half.
End for Li Ping and Kim Gang Woong
China�s fourth seeded Hao Shuai accounted for colleague Li Ping (11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7) whilst Austria�s Chen Weixing ended the adventures of Kim Gang Woong.
The Austrian defender with a powerful forehand topspin won 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5.
Success on each occasion for the higher ranked player and it was the same situation in all the other Men�s Singles second round contests.
China�s Ma Lin, seeded no.2 and Wang Liqin, seeded no.3 enjoyed trouble free confrontations.
The former beat Chinese Taipei�s Wu Chih-Chi (6-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 12-10); whilst the latter overcame Poland�s Jakub Kosowski in two games less, he won 11-6, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5.
In the remaining matches Chinese Taipei�s Chiang Peng-Lung proved too strong for Japan�s Taku Takakiwa, Korea�s eighth seeded Ryu Seung Min was too fast for Japan�s Hidetoshi Oya whilst Chinese Taipei�s Chuang Chih-Yuan, seeded no.6, was to consistent for Seiya Kishikawa, also from Japan.
Sorry for Japan and there was more. China�s Zhang Jike defeated Kazuhiro Chan whilst to conclude proceedings it was success for Hong Kong against Singapore.
Jiang Tianyi defeated Yang Zi in the only second round match to go the full seven games distance. In a titanic struggle Jiang Tianyi prevailed 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 5-11, 12-10.
The second round of the Men�s Singles event saw the departure of Koki Niwa but not without a fight; he won the first two games against Lee Jung Woo before experience told and the Korean marched forward.
China’s Wang Hao, Ma Lin and Wang Liqin plus Korea’s Ryu Seung Min, the players who have shared the Men’s Singles title at the Olympic Games and World Championships since 2004, are the star names on duty at the China Open in Tianjin, the latest stop on the ITTF Pro Tour.
Play commences on Wednesday 12th August, concluding with the finals on Sunday 16th August 2009.
Wang Hao, Ma Lin and Wang Liqin occupy the respective top three seeded places with Ryu Seung Min in the no.8 spot.
The three Chinese stars formed the outfit that secured gold in the Men’s Team event at the Beijing Olympic Games but for Ryu Seung Min, there was no repeat of the historical achievement in Athens.
Out of Form
There was no medal for the Korean in either Beijing at the Olympic Games or at this year’s H.I.S. World Championships in Yokohama; whilst likewise on the ITTF Pro Tour, his results have been below par.
At the moment, having played in four ITTF Pro Tour tournaments in 2009, he stands in 40th place.
Hao Shuai is the no.4 seed in the Men’s Singles event, thus completing a quartet of Chinese players holding the leading places; Denmark’s Michael Maze leads the European challenge being seeded no.5 with Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan seeded no.6 and Hong Kong’s Cheung Yuk, seeded no.7.
The notable absentees from the elite of Chinese table tennis are Ma Long and Chen Qi. Ma Long currently occupies the no.1 spot on the ITTF Pro Tour Men’s Singles Standings and is not named in the starting list.
Similarly, in the female events there are celebrated Chinese absentees. Zhang Yining, Guo Yue, Li Xiaoxia and Guo Yan are all missing.
Heading the list is Liu Shiwen, very much the player in form on the ITTF Pro Tour in 2009. She leads the ITTF Pro Tour Women’s Singles Standings having won at both the Danish Open and the Harmony China Open.
Seeded no.2 is Singapore’s Feng Tianwei with China’s Ding Ning at no.3 and Jiang Huajun at no.4.
Wang Yue Gu, also from Singapore is no.5 with Hong Kong’s Tie Yana seeded no.6, Austria’s Liu Jia at no.7 and Korea’s Dang Yeo Seo at no.8.
Meanwhile in the Men’s Doubles event, Singapore’s Gao Ning and Yang Zi occupy the top seeded position with China’s Ma Lin and Wang Liqin, seeded no.2. Hong Kong’s Jiang Huajun and Tie Yana are the no.1 seeds in the Women’s Doubles competition with China’s Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen being seeded no.2.
In the Under 21 Men’s Singles event the respective top two seeds are Japan’s Kenji Matsudaira and England’s Paul Drinkhall with Singapore’s Yu Meng Yu and Romania’s Elizabeta Samara occupying the same positions in the Under 21 Women’s Singles competition.
Play starts on Wednesday 12th August 2009 with the qualification stage of both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events.