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El-Sayed Lashin and Kaii Yoshida Razor Sharp, João Monteiro on Knife-Edge
GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour, Airports of Regions Russian Open (Major) (Click here to access this section)
Egypt’s El-Sayed Lashin alongside Japan’s Kaii Yoshida and Portugal’s João Monteiro were the players to attract the attention, as matters progressed in the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Airports of Regions Russian Open in Ekaterinburg on Friday 7th November.
El-Sayed Lashin and Kaii Yoshida, both players with powerful forehands, caused upsets; whilst João Monteiro succeeded as status suggested but he had to recover from the very precipice of defeat to secure victory.
He recovered from an 8-10 deficit in the deciding seventh game, against Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit; saving two match points, before clinching the next two, to win a scintillating contest (10-12, 11-7, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8, 2-11, 12-10).
João Monteiro was the no.13 seed; Ho Kwan Kit had been required to negotiate the qualification stage of proceedings.
Success for João Monteiro in a dramatic fashion; success for Kaii Yoshida and El-Sayed Lashin but not in such a tension packed fashion; Kaii Yoshida, the no.28 seed, accounted for Russia’s Alexey Smirnov, the no.18 seed (8-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4, 11-3), whilst El-Sayed Lashin, the no.31 seed, added more distress to the Hong Kong cause.
The no.31 seed, he overcame Wong Chun Ting, the 15 seed (11-4, 11-5, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9).
Able to Read Service
“I won the two first games very easily; he never really got into the match”, said El-Sayed Lashin. “Also during the whole match I could see and return well all his services.”
The vital aspect of table tennis, in that area El-Sayed Lashin was confident; also he exploited the fact that Wong Chun Ting is a pen-holder in the modern guise but not quite Wang Hao when the backhand is involved.
“During the long rallies if we were playing forehand to forehand he was better than me but if I could play more top spin to his backhand I had the advantage”, added El-Sayed Lashin, who is no mean player when forehand to forehand top spin rallies are on the menu. If he executes a forehand top spin stroke early in the rally, he can be devastating.
“He started to play better from the third game, he won the fourth easily; in the fifth I went ahead 8-3 but playing freely he recovered to level at 9-all”, continued El-Sayed Lashin. “I felt he was nervous at the crucial points and played too save, I took my chancel it has been a long time I have played really well on the World Tour.”
Perhaps the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Kuwait Open in February of that year; El-Sayed Lashin extended China’s Wang Hao to six games in their first round encounter. Also Wong Chun Ting excelled on that occasion; he lost 12-10 in the deciding seventh game in the first round of the Men’s Singles to Zhang Jike, the eventual winner.
Kohei Sambe Maintains Form
Fine performances from El-Sayed Lashin and Kaii Yoshida; there was also a fine effort from the latter’s compatriot, Kohei Sambe.
The winner one round earlier against Korea’s Jung Youngsik, the no.9 seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4); the 17 year old continued his winning ways. He beat Stéphane Ouaiche of France, the no.30 seed, in seven games (5-11, 11-4, 10-12, 7-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7).
Three upsets and according to seeding there were two more but in reality no great surprises; players from the same national association met.
Grigory Vlasov, the no.22 seed, beat Russian colleague, Kirill Skachkov, the no.16 seed (3-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-8); whilst in the all Japanese battle Maharu Yoshimura, the no.27 seed, defeated Yuto Muramatsu, the no.8 seed (10-12, 11-8, 8-11, 15-13, 11-6, 13-11).
Leading Names Progress
Otherwise, it was success for the leading names.
In the top half of the draw, Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the top seed, beat Simon Gauzy of France, the no.19 seed (11-2, 6-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8); Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.3 seed, accounted for Singaporean qualifier Xin Zhaoxu (9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-0, 11-3, 11-4); whilst Korea’s Cho Eonrae, the no.6 seed, defeated Emmanuel Lebesson, also from France (6-11, 15-13, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-9).
Not to be outdone, Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira, the no.7 seed, also caused France pain; he ended the hopes of Abdel-Kader Salifou, a player who had been required to negotiated the qualification stage (11-6, 14-16, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6).
Lower Half of Draw
Meanwhile, amongst the leading names in the lower half of the draw, Jun Mizutani, the no.2 seed, accounted for Askua Machi, the no.28 seed, in an all-Japan duel (3-11, 11-5, 11-9. 10-12, 11-8, 13-11); colleague Koki Niwa, the no.4 seed, defeated Singapore’s Wu Zhikang, the no.27 seed (11-7, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9) and Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, the no.5 seed, ended any hopes harboured by Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro (11-5, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9).
Wins from players a reasonably similar generations but there was one result which was generations apart.
England’s Liam Pitchford, the no.15 seed, beat Croatia’s Zoran Primorac, the no.32 seed (12-10, 17-15, 11-8, 11-0).
Liam Pitchford was born in July 1993; earlier that year in Gothenburg Zoran Primorac was a bronze medallist in the World Championships. He was beaten at the semi-final stage by the champion elect, Frenchman Jean-Philippe Gatien in a full distance five games duel (12-21. 21-16, 17-21, 21-16, 21-11).