(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager)
China Open: Generation game, today’s talent prevails
The second year of the ITTF World Junior Circuit, in New Zealand a bright young 15 year old won the Boys’ Singles title; also in that year, a young man who in recent times has stunned the world with his incredible performances, was born.
In the opening round of the Men’s Singles event on Friday 1st June at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum, Kaisa China Open in Shenzhen, the host nation’s Zhang Jike, now 30 years old, faced Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the young man who later this month will celebrate his 15th birthday.
Half the age of his adversary, Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.12 seed, emerged successful in four straight games (11-8, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6) against the man who has won all the world’s major titles on offer and whom one day he hopes to emulate.
“I’m really excited to win. I never thought I could win for four-nil. I am really happy with the result. I feel I played well today.” Tomokazu Harimoto
Success for Tomokazu Harimoto on what proved an early evening of differing fortunes for Japan as the opening round of the Men’s Singles event came to a close. Jun Mizutani, the no.10 seed, beat Germany’s Patrick Franziska (11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3); conversely Yuya Oshima lost to Korea’s Lee Sangsu, the no.7 seed (14-12, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11). Meanwhile, contrary to expectations, Kenta Matsudaira, the no.13 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of the host nation’s Wang Chuqin (12-10, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4).
A place in round two of the Men’s Singles event against the odds for Wang Chuqin; in a similar vein, Liang Jingkun, a young man who excelled in the 2016 China Super League, raised the eyebrows. He accounted for Frenchman, Simon Gauzy, the no.9 seed (11-3, 11-2, 11-9, 11-9).
“I was able to get into the zone quickly. I was well prepared and I was able to adapt.” Liang Jingkun.
Impressive from Liang Jingkun, it was the same from his illustrious compatriots, Ma Long, the no.5 seed and Lin Gaoyuan, the no.4 seed. Ma Long beat Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju (11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5); Lin Gaoyuan ended the hopes of Korea Republic’s Jeong Sangeun (11-3, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6).
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