July 10, 2019

The race for positions in the main draw concludes as the first two days of the 2019 ITTF Australian Open have come and gone with players booking their spots in the main event commencing tomorrow. 

Marcos Freitas is ready for the main draw (Photo by: Owen Hammond)

 

Mixed Doubles

 

Australian Duo Kane Townsend and Jee Minghyung worked together to overpower French opponents Alexandre Robinot and Audrey Zarif in straight sets (11-7, 12-10, 11-6). The Aussie pair will move to meet another french pair, Tristan Flore and Laura Gassier tomorrow morning in the main draw.

“It was the first time Min and I played together and we went well. The first set went really well, I think that combination where Min was playing to the French girl really worked for us. The second set was close, we were down 5-9 and we played some good balls and caught up to them and won that set 11-9 and I think that’s what got us through the match. Main draw will be tough but we’ll see how it goes.” Kane Townsend

Women’s Doubles

 

Audrey Zariff paired up with Laura Gassiner (FRA) closely overpowered Hong Kong pair MAK Tze Wing & ZHU Chengzu in a tight five games (5-11, 11-5, 11-9, 4-11, 11-8).

“The first game was bad and we were not focusing. After that, we played well. We battled hard and we spoke to each other so the communication was there in the match. We tried to fight and got the match. After the match went 2-1, we tried playing in backhand more and it worked well. The opposing players changed the tactics to play in forehand, but since we are not confident in winning shots, we tried to push the ball deeper instead to avoid attacks.” Audrey Zariff

 

Singapore’s Lin Ye and Yu Mengyu narrowly avoided defeat from Wale’s Charlotte Carey and Australia’s Stephanie Xu Sang. The Singapore pair squeezed through into the main draw 3-2 (11-8, 11-4, 4-11, 9-11, 11-9) and will be meeting Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu tomorrow in the main draw.

(Photo by: Owen Hammond)

Men’s Doubles

 

In the preliminary rounds of the Men’s Doubles, Benedikt Duda and Dang Qiu successfully launched their campaign overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Huang Chien-Tu and Yeh Chih-Wei 3-1 (11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8).

(Photo by: Owen Hammond)

 

Women’s Singles

 

It was an intense battle between Hong Kong’s Soo Wai Yam Minnie and France’s Laura Gassiner, as the formed fought off the European in a tight seven sets (13-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-13, 11-4, 15-13) which could’ve swung either way.

 

Spanish star Maria Xiao could not replicate her earlier success on day 1 of qualifications and had to settle for an early exit after putting up a hard battle against China’s Liu Weishan. After an initially rocky start, Liu was at the top of her game, winning 4-2.

“As a young chinese player, this is my second time representing China at a World Tour. My first one was in Korea last week. During the match, I had a bit of trouble in the second set with Maria’s service after she changed her tactics. I did not feel very comfortable and lost the second set. My coach told me to slow down my game and focus more on the ball. I got my confidence back and won the match and now through to the main draw.” Liu Weishan

Liu Wieshan has her eyes on the ball (Photo by: Owen Hammond)

 

Shiho Matsudaira (JPN) fought for every point against opponent Ng Wing Nam (HKG) to eventually take the game with a 6-11, 12-10, 13-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-6 victory and qualify for the main draw.

“I played her twice in the Japanese league, and I lost both of them even though I was leading in these matches. But I did not feel I was entirely inferior in the past matches, so I had the determination to win this time.” Shiho Matsudaira

 

Men’s Singles

Jonathan Groth fended off China’s young star Xue Fei in six sets to continue his Australian Open journey. Despite Xue’s best efforts the Danish No.1 proved too strong for him and won 4-2 (7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-1, 7-11, 11-8).

“I’m extremely happy. It’s been a while since I defeated a Chinese player at this level. Also I came from European games that happened two weeks ago and I was in a really good shape, but I was also mentally exhausted because of the long travel from Denmark. So tried to keep my head into this match. Xue is an extremely strong player in both forehand and backhand, but his backhand was especially good so I tried not placing the ball to his backhand too much. Also, when he initiates attack I had no chance, so I tried to become the first one to attack.” Jonathan Groth

 

There will be no spot in the main draw for India’s top seeds Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Achanta Sharath Kamal.

Korea’s Lim Jonghoon overpowered the Indian Veteran Kamal in an exhilarating seven set match (14-16, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10). Lim rose to the challenge of the 2006 Commonwealth Gold Medallist and books himself a position in the main draw for tomorrow morning.

Wang Yang from Slovakia powered through Gnanasekaran in straight sets. The chopper stayed calm and collected as he cruised through to the main draw, ready to face Korean Lee Sangsu.

Wang Yang overpowers opponent to book his place in the main draw (Photo by: Owen Hammond)

 

In the last match of the preliminary rounds, Korea’s rising star, only 16 years old, Cho Daeseong defeated Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting. It was an even start at first before Cho rose to the top of his game and overcome Wong 4-2 (11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-2).

“I am so happy that I have won this match as this is my first time qualifying for the main draw at a platinum level event. I had a strong opponent today. Before the match, I knew that I would play against a strong player so I thought I will take this match as a learning opportunity. I won the first set, but then lost 2 sets. I tried to follow the advice from coach during the game when I was under pressure as I am young and don’t have much experience in this kind of big event. I was able to win 3 sets in a row afterwards and won this match with the support from my coach LEE Jeoungwoo.” Cho Daeseong

 

With all places in the main draw decided, Geelong Arena is bound to see history being made in the next few days.

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