Liking for Doha continues, French pair ends Chinese hopes
Outstanding in 2014 when they concluded proceedings on the second step of the medal podium; once again the French partnership of Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson demonstrated a distinct liking for Doha.
Three years ago, they had been beaten in the Men’s Doubles final by Korea’s Cho Eonrae and Seo Hyundeok; on Friday 24th February at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open, they were even more impressive.
Not seeded, they beat fellow qualifiers the redoubtable Chinese partnership of Fan Zhendong and Liang Jingkun; furthermore, they won in three straight games (11-7, 11-4, 11-9).
An impressive win and a resurgence in form; both had been beaten in the preliminary round of the Men’s Singles qualification tournament two days earlier and thus had not booked main draw places.
Tristan Flore had lost to Ukraine’s Kou Lei (11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-8); Japan’s Masaki Yoshida had beaten Emmanuel Lebesson (11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7).
“I was not happy after losing in the Men’s Singles event; today we played well, it’s difficult to explain. I think maybe Liang Jingkun was a little nervous. We received service well with our backhands and Emmanuel is always dangerous with his forehand”, Tristan Flore.
“It’s not easy to play against a partnership in which Fan Zhendong is present. The main point was not to try to take excessive risks after losing a point; you must take some risks but it was important not to go overboard. Mentally we were strong today; we were very much together”, Emmanuel Lebesson.
The win recorded by Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson means that no Chinese pair remains; one day earlier Ma Long and Zhang Jike had been beaten by Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson (5-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-3).
Success against Ma Long and Zhang Jike in the opening round; in the next it was success in opposition to fellow Swedes Pär Gerell and Anton Källberg, a straight games win was posted (11-6, 12-10, 11-7).
At the semi-final stage Pär Gerell and Anton Källberg meets Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson; in the opposite half, it is the top seeded Japanese pairing of Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima in opposition to Belgium’s Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck, the no.7 seeds.
At the quarter-final stage Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima beat Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chiang Hung-Chieh (11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-4); Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck ended the progress of Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi and Lam Siu Hang (11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-4), thus causing somewhat of an upset.
The Hong Kong duo commenced matters as the no.4 seeds.