Hugo Hoyama untroubled in first phase of Men's Singles event
Photo By: Cristian Larrain
GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour, Chile Open
The leading names in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event, at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Chile Open in Santiago, all booked their places in the main draw following success on Thursday 26th April 2012,
Brazil’s evergreen Hugo Hoyama, who in July in London will be competing in his sixth consecutive Olympic Games when he sets foot in the ExCel Arena, set the tone.
In his opening contest he beat Chile’s Martin Pinto (11-3, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7), before concluding his first stage matches with victory over Sergio Luht, also from Chile (11-4, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6).
Veteran versus Super Veteran
Hugo Hoyama, the mainstay of Brazilian table tennis for over two decades is now 42 years old and when playing on the Tour, usually confronts players several years his junior.
However, when faced with Martin Pinto, he was confronting an adversary 22 years his senior.
Martin Pinto is 64 years old; surely the contest between Martin Pinto and Hugo Hoyama is the only match on the GAC GROUP 2012 World Tour, where the combined ages of the two protagonists adds up to over one hundred years!
A comfortable path to the main draw for Hugo Hoyama as it was for Germany’s Philipp Floritz and Korea’s Kim Dong Hyun, the second and third highest world ranked players on duty in the first phase of the Men’s Singles event. Neither was troubled.
However, for England’s Darius Knight, the fourth highest world ranked player on duty, life was much more difficult; he had to endure a full distance seven games matches.
Darius Knight on his first visit to the table was stretched to the limit by Brazil’s Gustavo Souza (8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 8-11) before rather more comfortably defeating Chile’s Gerardo Palma (14-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8).
“I felt good”, said Darius Knight after his close victory over Gustavo Souza.
“He played to a very good level, I did not know what to expect because I had never played him before; certainly from both the forehand and the backhand he served well”, added the Englishmen who has a definite goal in mind; he hails from London.
“My aim is to qualify for the London Olympic Games, so I have come here without a coach, which is unusual for me, to try to give myself the best chance to qualify”, added Darius Knight. “I had to fight hard to win: last week in Spain I qualified for the main draw but then lost to a very good Japanese player; I hope I can do better here.”
In Spain he was beaten in the first round of the Men’s Singles event by Hiromitsu Kasahara in seven games.
Similarly for Argentina’s Pablo Tabachnik, the sixth highest rated on duty and Brazil’s Humberto Manhani, the seventh rated; there were testing times.
Pablo Tabachnik needed the full seven games to beat Brazil’s Lidney Castro (9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7) before rather more comfortably defeating Chile’s Gustavo del Fierro (11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5): whilst Humberto Manahani was stretched to the very limit by Pablo Tabachnik’s 14 year old compatriot, Fermin Tenti.
Humberto Manhani won but there were nervous moments, he succeeded in seven games (11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8), after in his opening match having defeated Chile’s Raimund Hofmann (11-2, 11-5, 11-5, 11-1).
Otherwise amongst the leading names it was success: Singapore’s Wu Zhikang, the fifth highest world ranked player in action and Brazil’s Eric Mancini, the seventh highest, all progressed without alarm.
Surprise for Juan Daher
The only casualty of note on the second day of play in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event was Argentina’s Juan Daher, the 12th highest world ranked player in action,
He was beaten by Chile’s Cristian Fuenzalida in five games (11-8, 3-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9) on his first visit to the table; the Chilean having been beaten the previous day in four straight games by colleague Gustavo Sepuldeva by a similar margin (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4).
Straight Games Win Need and Delivered
Therefore in the concluding match in the group, Juan Daher needed to win in four straight games to secure first place in the group.
He duly obliged, he won 11-9, 13-11, 11-7, 11-8.