by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Quentin Robinot, the no.8 seed, somewhat upset the order of merit by overcoming Russia’s Mikhail Paikov, the no.7 seed in a full distance seven games duel(11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7), before Tomas Konecny, the no.3 seed, ended the hopes of Japanese teenager, Yuto Kizukuri, the no.12 seed.
Success for Quentin Robinot; even before he commenced proceedings on the concluding day in Panagyurishte, he was enjoying the most productive ITTF World Tour tournament of his career.
Notably his previous best had been a quarter-final finish in Antwerp in 2012 and earlier this year in Hungary.
“I was a little bit surprised that I won the semi-final against Mikhail Paikov from Russia. I had problems during the match because it’s nearly the end of the competition and I’m feeling a little tired, to be focused was really hard. At the end of the match I was focused and knew what to do. Mikhail Paikov was very good. He has a very good style. He played really strongly. I knew that it would be a hard match. It was really close but it worked out fine in the end. To prepare for my next match in the final I will go to my room, take a shower, have a rest, eat. I will do my best to play a great match in the final. The competition is great, the hall is really good; he training hall is really good, it’s really nice here.” Quentin Robinot after beating Mikhail Paikov
Meanwhile for Tomas Konecny, Mikhail Paikov and Yuto Kizukuri, even though only 16 years old, all had previous ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles penultimate round experience.
Earlier this year Yuto Kizukuri reached the last four in Australia, in 2009 in Belarus Tomas Konecny achieved the same goal.
One year later, also in Belarus, Mikhail Paikov advanced to the semi-finals, a finish he also realised on four occasions in 2012.
“The tournament is very good. My semi-final against Yuto Kizukuri from Japan wasn’t easy although I beat him four nil. Every game we played was difficult and also he is left-hander. My next opponent is Quentin Robinot from France. The last time I played against him I won but I think that it will be a very hard match.” Tomas Konecny after beating Yuto Kizukuri
Successful in Belarus
He advanced to the penultimate round in Croatia, Egypt and on home soil in Ekaterinburg as well as once again in Belarus. It was in Belarus where he enjoyed success to reach his one and only ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles final
In the country’s capital city of Minsk he booked his place in the final where title aspirations were ended by colleague Vasily Lakeev.
Four years later it was once again a semi-final farewell.