T2 Diamond: MA Long too strong for Simon GAUZYPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
T2 Diamond Table Tennis League (T2 Diamond) in Johor Bahru, Malaysia
T2 Diamond Table Tennis League (T2 Diamond) in Johor Bahru, Malaysia (July 18-21) commenced by the Session 1 of Day 1, as the strongest title contender in the Men’s event MA Long of China beat Frenchman Simon GAUZY 4:1 (11:7, 11:9, 11:4, 6:11, 5:0). GAUZY, who was ranked 17th in the World Tour Standings, replaced 2017 winner, German star Timo BOLL (Germany) who cancelled his participation due to injury.
Actual Olympic and World champion showed his power in the first three games, but 2016 European Championships runner-up managed to win fourth set. The fifth one was decided after five consecutive points of MA, due to FAST5 rule. T2 Diamond introduced 24–minute match clock, with games without tie–breaks or two–point differential. In case there is no winner after 24 minutes, a FAST5 has to be involved with the first player to five points winning the game.
The 32 world’s best ranked players, 16 in each of men’s and women’s events, are competing at the first event of this year’s T2 Diamond series in the Johor Bahru, the city which hosted the inaugural season two years ago. Other two tournaments will be held in China’s city of Haikou (September) and Singapore (November). Players will fight for prize money of USD 1.5 million for all three events and bonus World Ranking Points prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“Table tennis continues to be one of the leading sports in the world, with our world class athletes delivering exciting and compelling fast-paced action at the table. We hope to see that the T2 model will prove to the market how best to commercialise table tennis. At the ITTF we are flexible and open to new ideas of taking the sport to a new level and success for the T2 events would demonstrate that there is a much better chance for table tennis to grow as fast as we’d like.” ITTF CEO, Steve Dainton stated for the ITTF website.
Day 1, July 18th, Session 1
LIN Gaoyuan (CHN) - WANG Chuqin (CHN) 4:1 (8:11, 11:7, 11:5, 11:7, 5:4)
MA Long (CHN) – Simon GAUZY (FRA) 4:1 (11:7, 11:9, 11:4, 6:11, 5:0)
CHEN Meng (CHN) - DOO Hoi Kem (HKG) 4:2 (11:5, 11:10, 7:11, 11:2, 1:5, 5:3)
Kato MIYU (JPN) - Ito MIMA (JPN) 4:3 (4:11, 11:4, 11:10, 11:4, 1:5, 1:5, 5:4)
Day 1, July 18th, Session 2
XU Xin (CHN) – Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER)
WONG Chun Ting (HKG) – Tomokazu HARIMOTO (JPN)
WANG Manyu (CHN) – Sofia POLCANOVA (AUT)
CHEN Szu-Yu (TPE) – SUN Yingsha (CHN)
Day 2, July 19th, Session 1
LIN Yun-Ju (TPE) – Jun MIZUTANI (JPN)
FAN Zhendong (CHN) – Hugo CALDERANO (BRA)
HAN Ying (GER) – CHEN I-Ching (TPE)
FENG Tianwei (SGP) – Miu HIRANO (JPN)
Day 2, July 19th, Session 2
Koki NIWA (JPN) – Mattias FALCK (SWE)
LIANG Jingkun (CHN) – Patrick FRANZISKA (GER)
Bernadette SZOCS (ROU) – DING Ning (CHN)
ZHU Yuling (CHN) – Kasumi ISHIKAWA (JPN)
More information: here