Russian Roulette, Former World Champion Bites the Bullet

Lausanne, June 8, 2012: Grigory VLASOV, Unbeaten on the first day of play but on the second day of action, Thursday 7th June, a surprise defeat in his final group match at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Japan Open in Kobe may have cost Sweden’s Jörgen PERSSON dearly.

He was beaten in five games by Russia’s Grigory VLASOV. Currently, Jörgen PERSSON, the 1991 World champion, stands at no.88 on the Men’s World Rankings, Grigory VLASOV is at no.146.

Jörgen PERSSON finished in third place in the group on games ratio. All three players beat YEH Chih-Wei but against each other, honours were shared. On the first day of play WONG Chun Ting had beaten Grigory Vlasov in six games, whilst by the very narrowest of seven game margins Jrgen PERSSON had defeated WONG Chun Ting.

The 46 year old Swede will progress to the main draw; one of the players seeded nine to 16 awaits, as opposed to a seed listed between no.24 and no.32, for the winner of the group.

Meanwhile, in the Women’s Singles event the player to cause to the biggest and most dramatic upset was Japan’s 17 year old Ayuka TANIOKA. She saved three match points in the vital seventh game before defeating Austria’s LIU Jia, the 2005 European champion.

Ayuka TANIOKA currently stands at no.101 on the Women’s World Rankings; conversely LIU Jia is at no.44.

Grigory VLASOV and Ayuka TANIOKA excelled but it was the Japanese partnership of 11 year old Mima ITO and 12 year Miu HIRONO, both born in 2000, who stole the show.

In the preliminary round of the Women’s Doubles event they beat Korea’s PARK Young Sook and YANG Ha Eun with the loss of only one game, the first game, to create a piece of history.

They became the youngest ever pair to reach the main draw of a doubles event since the ITTF Pro Tour, now the GAC GROUP 2012 World Tour, began in 1996. —- Photo: Tetsu Yamashita

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