(by Steve Hopkins)
When the dust settled in Muscat, Oman, the Men’s Singles winner was Korea’s Jang Woojin and the Women’s Singles champion was Chen Xingtong. Woojin is currently World No. 28 and Chen Xingtong is World No. 33, so in an event where all players were outside of the World Top 10, these results were not surprising. Still, both players had strong performances, jumping over a competitive field where each was outside of the Top 5 event seeds.
TeamUSA had nice results with Kanak Jha seeded 10th and making it to the Semifinals (he lost to eventual winner Woojin). Lily Zhang entered as the 8th seed and advanced to the Final 8 (she fell to Finalist Choi Hyojoo). Lily also advanced all the way to the Final in Women’s Doubles. She and partner Barbora Balazova scored three upsets before losing to the Chinese team of Qian Tianyi and Chen Xingtong.
21 year old Chinese qualifier, Liang Yanning may have been the biggest story of the tournament. Yanning dominated his half of the draw with a wins over Patrick Franziska, Benedikt Duda, Jon Persson, and Chuang Chih-Yuan Liang Yanning fell to Jang Woojin in the Final 4-3.
For USA’s Kanak Jha, there were three solid wins in the event – a 3-1 win over Ruwen Filus, a 3-1 win over Ricardo Walther, and a 3-2 win over China’s Liu Yebo before the 4-2 loss to Jang Woojin in the Semifinal. In Singles, USA’s Lily Zhang topped India’s Mukherjee 3-1, then defeated China’s Chu Hanwent 3-2 before falling to Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu.
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