Japanese Teenager Shines Again at Qatar Open

Doha – Qatar, Feb 22, 2013: Winner of the Boys’ Singles title at the ITTF Junior Circuit Finals in Guatemala in late January; Japan’s 17 year old Masataka MORIZONO was the player to attract the attention at the ITTF 2013 World Tour Qatar Open in Doha on the second day of play, Thursday 21st February.

Relentless, uninhibited, he recovered from a three games to one deficit to beat Egypt’s EL-Sayed LASHIN, the reigning African champion, in seven games (9-11, 12-10, 3-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-5) in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event. In so doing he booked his place in a Men’s Singles event at an ITTF World Tour tournament for the second consecutive time.

The previous week in Kuwait he had accounted for Belgium’s Jean-Michel SAIVE, the former European champion and World no.1 in the first phase of affairs. Defeat for one notable name and there were scares for two others as the first stage of the Men’s Singles event came to a close.

India’s Sharath Kamal ACHANTA, former Commonwealth champion, was tested by Croatia’s 21 year old Frane KOJIC, winning by the very narrowest of margins in the seventh game (8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 13-11); whilst the vastly experienced CHEUNG Yuk of Hong Kong China survived a severe examination from Egypt’s 24 year old Mohamed EL-BEAILI (3-11, 11-5, 11-3, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8).

Problems for three leading names in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event but not for the highest World ranked player required to play in the first phase of proceedings, China’s YAN An the winner of the Men’s Doubles title in Kuwait with XU Xin; nor for the athletic young Korean JUNG Youngsik. YAN An beat Sweden’s Hampus SODERLUND (11-6, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8), JUNG Youngsik overcame Canada’s CHEN Hongtao (11-3, 11-3, 11-8, 4-11, 11-6).

In the Women’s Singles event, the top names had all successfully qualified for the main draw one day earlier; Japan’s Ayuka TANIOKA and Yuki NONAKA in addition to Singapore’s ZHOU Yihan and Korea’s KANG Misoon could watch as other fought for a second stage place. The main draw commences on Friday 22nd February. —- ITTF

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