Chuang shocks Long in action-packed day one

Russell Moore

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The 33rd Liebherr Men’s World Cup kicked off with a bang at the Echo Arena as favourite and world number 2 Ma Long (CHN) was beaten 4-0 by Chuang Chih-Yuan (TPE).

That victory was the standout result from the first day, which was not without it’s shocks (Adrien Mattenet beating Oh Sang Eun) and top quality matches (a repeat of Michael Maze vs Dimitrij Ovtcharov Olympic quarter-final).

Group A

Group A produced the result of the tournament as China’s number two player, Ma Long, was humbled 4-0 at the feet of world number 10, Chuang Chih-Yuan.

Chuang started the match at pace and raced into an early 8-2 lead, which he eventually sealed with an 11-9 game. This proved just he start of things to come as the Taipei star won a tight second game 12-10.

When Chuang won the third 11-7 the shock was well and truly on, but after the fourth went the way of the underdog 11-9 the table tennis world was left in shock.

The other matches in the group went the way of the seeding as host nation player Paul Drinkhall was beaten by both his Werder Bremen teammates Chuang and Adrian Crisan, while Ma Long beat Crisan in the other earlier match.

Group B

Group B saw no surprises as Xu Xin won both of his encounters against Vladimir Samsonov and Marcos Freitas, while Samsonov also beat Liam Pitchford.

Freitas, a 4-1 victor over the Englishman, will play Samsonov tomorrow with the winner assured of a place in the quarter-finals alongside the Chinese world number 3.

Group C

Group C saw the other big shock of the day as last-minute French replacement Adrien Mattenet beat Oh Sang Eun (ranked 17 places higher) 4-2.

The result included an incredible 11-0 second game as the Frenchman raced 3-0 ahead before halting the Korean’s comeback by claiming the sixth game 11-5 and the victory to boot.

Oh Sang Eun would later retire from an injury, which meant Timo Boll’s win over Jiang Tianyi puts him in good stead for the quarter-finals. Mattenet, meanwhile lost to Tianyi in his other match and must wait patiently tomorrow.

Group D

Group D provided the biggest double-upset of the day as fourth seed and Olympic singles bronze medallist, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, faces elimination from the competition after defeats to both Michael Maze and Joo Se Hyuk.

Hyuk, who earlier beat IC Cup Champion Thiago Monteiro 4-2, comfortably beat the German 4-0.

Meanwhile, Danish star Maze avenged his Olympic Games quarter-final defeat by Ovtcharov in another epic encounter between the pair. Maze eventually winning 4-2 (11-9, 11-7, 17-19, 7-11, 16-14, 11-8)

For the full draw and results from the ITTF see the links on our Men’s World Cup mini-site which holds all the information you need from the Echo Arena.

By Russell Moore

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