Chen Feng enjoyed success in London in November but in Suzhou it was the very opposite
Photo By: Remy Gros
GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour, Harmony China Open
Runner up in the Under 21 Menís Singles event at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals in Londonís ExCeL Exhibition Centre in late November 2011; Singaporeís Chen Feng was the one casualty of note on Wednesday 22nd August, as matters commenced in the first stage of proceedings in the Menís Singles event at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Harmony China Open in Suzhou.
Currently listed at no.135 on the Menís World Rankings, the 18 year old Singaporean was beaten by Japanís Yuichi Tokiyoshi, a player with no World ranking. Yuichi Tokiyoshi won in four straight games (11-5, 13-11, 11-9, 11-8), to douse the aspirations of Chen Feng and enhance his own chances of progress to the main draw.
No Second Chances
In the qualification stage of the Menís Singles event there are no second chances; the players finishing in first place in each of the 16 groups join the 16 seeds in the main draw; for the rest it is farewell.
Enjoyable Return to China
It was not the return to the country of his birth that Chen Feng desired but if there is one young man who would seem to delight in visiting China it is Iranís 19 year old Nima Alamian.
At the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour China Open, earlier in the year in May, he had been in outstanding form; very much the player to attract the attention in the group stage of the Menís Singles event.
On that occasion he beaten both Chinese Taipeiís Chen Chien-An and Hong Kongís Tse Ka Chun to progress to the main draw, where Japanís Kazuhiro Chan ended Iranian progress in a hard fought six games duel.
Three months later, Nima Alamian was once again in form on Chinese soil; on his first visit to the table in Suzhou he caused Hong Kong more heartaches. He beat Chiu Chung-Hei in a closely contested seven games duel (9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 5-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7).
A full distance duel involving an aspiring young player and there were three more contests which needed a seventh game and involved young players; all three being decided by the minimal two point margin.
Italyís 17 year old Leonardo Mutti and Japanís 16 year old Asuka Sakai fought a titanic duel with the verdict going the way of the Italian. Leonardo Mutti won 4-11, 13-11, 5-11, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10, 13-11.
Similarly, it was a nail-biting contest involving 17 year old Yuto Higashi and Chinese Taipeiís 22 year old Yeh Chih-Wei; the only difference being in this confrontation the verdict went in favour of Japan, not against.
Yuto Higashi won 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9.
Yet Another Minimal Margin Decision
Two thrillers and there was one more; Koreaís 20 year old Lee Seunjin beat Chinese Taipeiís 23 year old Chiang Hung-Chieh (13-11, 6-11, 14-12, 7-11, 12-10, 6-11, 13-11); a young man on whom we first set eyes a decade ago in Santiago when in 2003 he played in the first ever World Junior Championships.
A match to catch the eye on that occasion was his duel against Japanís Jun Mizutani, both were 14 years old at the time. Jun Mizutani won the contest and has progressed to greater heights; alas for Chiang Hung-Chieh it has not been the situation.
In 2005 in the city of Linz, he won the Boysí Doubles title with Huang Sheng-Sheng at the World Junior Championships but since that success he has been plagued by injury; a talented young man, letís hope troubled times are over.
Alas, in Suzhou, for Chiang Hung-Chieh a place in the main draw of the Menís Singles event looks a distant hope; for Lee Seunjin the door is open.