(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor)
Wheel of fortune turns, long odds winners in Las Vegas
Gold in both the Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles events at the 2017 United States Open, Japan’s Taimu Arinobu departed Las Vegas on Thursday 21st December, as one of the most successful players in the whole tournament.
Titles for Taimu Arinobu but there were plenty of casualties; Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar and Canada’s Jeremy Hazin both departed earlier than anticipated as did the host nation’s Kanak Jha and Timothy Wang.
In the final of the Men’s Singles event, Taimu Arinobu beat colleague, Kohei Morimoto (11-7, 11-13, 13-11, 8-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7), after having one round earlier overcome Tao Weizheng of the United States (11-13, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6) and doubles partner Tomoya Fujimura in the round of the last eight (8-11, 11-7, 12-11, 11-5, 11-8).
Impressive, it was similar n the opposite half of the draw. At the same stages, Kohei Morimoto recorded a quarter-final success against Tian Ye (11-8, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9), prior to reserving his place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to a further United States player in the guise of Wu Junchan (11-5, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7).
Unexpected semi-finalists; in round two, Tomislav Pucar, the top seed, in his very first match of the event, had lost the veteran French star Damien Eloi (11-8, 6-11, 11-5, 8-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9), who one round later had suffered at the hands of Tao Weizheng (9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 3-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9). Most certainly Tao Weizheng was in good form; at the quarter-final stage, he ended the hopes of another celebrated European; he beat Poland’s Lucjan Blaszczyk (11-13, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6).
Farewell, in their opening engagement, it was exactly the same for Timothy Wang, the no.3 seed and for Jeremy Hazin the no.4 seed; for Kanak Jha it was only marginally better, he experienced defeat in round three.
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