Lausanne-Switzerland, May 24, 2012: Swedish Hero, Crowned European champion in 1986, five years later anointed World champion; Sweden’s Jorgen PERSSON was the major casualty, as proceedings commenced on Wednesday 23rd May, in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour China Open in Shanghai.
The indefatigable Swede, now 46 years old, suffered defeat in both his encounters, both agonizingly in seven games.
He was beaten by players whose combined ages fall well short of his venerable years.
In his opening contest he suffered defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s 16 years old LEE Chia-Sheng (11-7, 3-11, 6-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8), before losing to Japan’s Asuka MACHI (11-9, 3-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9), a young man who celebrated his 18th birthday three days before the tournament started on Sunday 20th May.
Asuka MACHI stands at no.261 on the Men’s World Rankings as opposed to Jorgen PERSSON who is at no.78.
“I am just too tired after the Korea Open, I did pretty well there, I reached the quarter-finals; I am now a bit injured,” sighed the 46 year old Swede. “I started coming to play in China in 1981 and have been here for more 50 times.”
Defeat for Jorgen PERSSON, and in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event and there was one other player with a top one hundred World ranking who crashed to defeat. Chinese Taipei’s CHEN Chien-An, World ranked no.90, was beaten by Iran’s 19 year old Nima ALAMIAN, World ranked no.402 (14-12, 14-12, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7).
However for CHEN Chien-An, the defeat is not necessarily terminal as is the situation for Jorgen PERSSON. On his second visit to the table, the Chinese Taipei star beat Hong Kong’s TSE Ka Chun (11-2, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8).
In both the Men’s and Women’s Singles events there are 32 places in the main draw for qualifiers, in each event there are 16 groups in the initial stage; thus the top two players in each group join the 32 seeds in a first round of 64 players.
Two notable names experienced defeats in the early stages of the Men’s Singles event; in counterpart phase of the Women’s Singles event, there were no less than five top one hundred World ranked players who suffered against lower rated adversaries.
Chinese Taipei’s CHENG I-Ching, ranked. no.61, was beaten by Japan’s Yuki MATSUMOTO, ranked no.238 (11-8, 11-6, 11-8, 12-10), whilst the Czech Republic’s Iveta VACENOVSKA, ranked no.57, lost to Ireland’s LIU Na, ranked no.244 (11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 8-11, 11-6).
Similarly, Japan’s Misaka WAKAMIYA, ranked no.53, suffered against Chinese Taipei’s CHENG Hsien-Tzu, ranked no.248 (12-10, 11-7, 4-11, 5-11, 8-11, 14-12, 14-12); whilst the latter’s colleague, LEE I-Chen, ranked no.76 was defeated by Aleksandra PRIVALOVA of Belarus, ranked no.111 (11-3, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6).
Also, Hong Kong’s LEE Ho Ching, ranked no. 95 found YEH Tung-Yi, ranked no.139, in form. She was beaten in four straight games (11-3, 12-10, 11-2, 11-7).
Defeats but, like CHEN Chien-An, the door is still open to the main draw; each experienced only one opening day defeat. PHOTO: RE MY GROS
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