(by Steve Hopkins/Photo by ITTF)
The Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Plantinum China Open is being held in Shenzhen China this week. The first stages were May 28-29, and the knock out stages will conclude on Sunday.
Saturday’s rounds featured the Quarterfinals where a pair of top seeds exited early. In the men’s event, Fan Zhendong, the top player in the world, lost for the second time in a row to Ma Long 4-1, but in each of the final two games the score was tied at 10-10 before Ma Long sealed both wins. And in the women’s event, Ding Ning opened with by winning the first game before losing four straight games to Japan’s Mima Ito.
The early rounds of the Men’s Singles were not great for North America. Kanak Jha fell in his opening match Daewoo Kim. The other American, Jinbao Ma, fell in his opening match to China’s Yu Ziyang. Jeremy Hazin of Canada also fell in his opening round to Daniel Habesohn of Austria. Thirty-two players emerged from three preliminary rounds. Those players were matched up with the top seeds – and 29 of those 32 lost their first knock out match. The three that were successful each won one match and then exited: Lubomir Pistej upset Woojin Jang before losing to Fan Zhendong, China’s Yu Ziyang upset Mattias Falck before losing to Timo Boll, and Simon Gauzy upset Sangsu Lee before falling to Chun Ting Wong.
The top seeds emerged into the Quarterfinals as expected, with Ma Long upsetting Fan Zhendong 4-1. Ma Long will face Tomokazu Harimoto who defeated Chun Ting Wong 4-1. The second seed in the tournament is Xu Xin who has won each of his matches 4-0 thus far. Xin defeated Timo Boll in the Quarterfinals and will face Ling Gaoyuan on Sunday. Gaoyuan defeated Liang Jingkun in a tight up-and-down match where he won the first three games 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 before being dominated for three straight games 8-11, 6-11, 6-11. But Gaoyuan was able to regroup to win the final game and advance.
In the Women’s Preliminary rounds, Canada’s Mo Zhang fell in her first match to Brazil’s Gui Lin. Puerto Rico’s Melanie Diaz also fell in her opening match, a 4-1 loss to Ho Ching Lee. Adriana Diaz won her first match, but fell to Japan’s Miyuu Kihara and did not advance.
In the Knock-out rounds, Japan’s Mima Ito is the big story. Ito defeated top seed Ding Ning in the quarterfinals and will face Wang Manyu. Manyu won her Quarterfinal match over Liu Shiwen 4-1. The tournament’s second seed, Zhu Yuling has been dominant throughout, including a 4-1 win over Cheng I-Cheng in the Quarterfinal. Yuling will face Chen Meng who defeated Chen Xingtong 4-0 in the other Quarterfinal.
Germany won the Men’s Doubles final handily with the Boll/Franziska team winning 3-0 over the Chinese team of Ma Long and Wang Chuqin. Women’s Doubles was China over China in a battle of the top two seeds (Gu/Liu over Wang/Zhu 3-0). And the Mixed Doubles final was Taipei over Hong Kong with the team of Lin/Cheng defeating Wong/Doo 3-1.
The singles finals will be played Sunday.
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