And then there were none: Hong Kong top seed Wong Chun-ting stopped in the last 16 by fierce Swedish fightback
The 26-year-old world No 7 squanders a 2-0 lead against his 68th-ranked opponent to fall 4-2 at the Hong Kong Open
Hong Kong world number seven Wong Chung-ting appeared to have sapped all his energy in this morning’s doubles win as his unbeaten run came to an abrupt halt by world number 68 Jon Persson, of Sweden.
The home favourite started brightly winning the opening two sets but Persson soon figured out Wong’s penhold grip and embarked on a 4-2 comeback (6-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9, [11-9]) in the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open at Queen Elizabeth Stadium, Wan Chai.
“It’s a shame because there wasn’t actually that much in it,” said the 26-year-old, who along with partner Ho Kwan-kit defeated Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng Ting and Lin Yun Ju earlier in the doubles.
“He was a bit slow at the start so I took the first two sets and I was relaxed and picked up on his mistakes.
“In the end he started to understand my hitting style and it was more difficult – I hope I can do better in future.”
Persson, 32, labelled the win as “revenge” having lost to Wong in a previous world championship game. He picked out his consistent serving as the key to beating a younger and higher-ranked player.
“It was hard but I found a solution in the end – I served really well and it was a great atmosphere,” said the Swede.
“[Wong] is a really good player I played quite passively against him in the past. You need to be on your top level to play him, otherwise you won’t beat him.”
The home crowd gave Wong the familiar “Wong Chun-ting add oil” cheers with each lost point and unfortunate net bounces – of which there were many – but was not enough to spur the top seed on to the quarter-finals.
“It’s always fun to play when there’s a crowd but it’s more fun when they cheer for you … today it was for him,” said Persson, whose team exchanged contacts with the Hong Kong coaches post-game.
Hong Kong’s Lee Ho-ching also fell short in the women’s singles.
The 28-year-old 2016 Rio Olympics team member showed moments of class but ultimately lost to Japanese 17-year-old prodigy and world number five Ito Mima (11-5, 4-11, 5-11, 7-11, 9-11).