by Simon Daish
European Youth Excites
The player from Kazakhstan began the day with a strong 4-0 victory over Petr Fedotov (Russia) before producing a comeback win against Thibaut Darcis (Belgium).
Darcis led 0-2 in the tie against Gerassimenko, but the Belgian couldn’t complete the task as his opponent fought back.
Gerassimenko picked up four consecutive games to produce a remarkable recovery to seal the group (5-11, 11-13, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8), and the 19-year-old is confident that he can go far in Minsk:
“Many powerful players have come to Minsk. I’ve taken the first place in the senior qualification, and I’ll try to hit the top eight.” -Kirill Gerassimenko (Kazakhstan).
Another teenager from Europe also impressed; Belarus’s very own Aliaksandr Khanin (18), beat Mahmood Rizband (Iran) and Ramil Mutygullin (Russia) to put Khanin top of group 14 after day one’s action.
Khanin and Mutygullin were involved in a seven game thriller, with momentum swinging from one player to the other throughout the tie.
Mutygullin took the opening end but soon fell 3-1 behind as Khanin moved into a commanding lead. Not willing to give in, the Russian won back-to-back games to force a decider, however, Khanin did the host nation proud by holding his nerve to take the 4-3 victory and subsequently earn another two points.
Korean Players Lead by Example
Cho Seungmin, Kim Minhyeok and Park Ganghyeon have all sealed top spot in their respective groups, and more competitors from Korea Republic could achieve the same feat on day two depending on results.
Group 1 saw Cho defeat Belarus’s Andrey Milovanov and Bohdan Sinkevych of Ukraine, Kim proved too strong for Valentin Pieraert (Belgium) and Andrei Tsiarokhin (Belarus) winning both group 2 matches in four straight, and Park booked his place in the next stage after he overcame Maksim Grebnev (Russia) and Pavel Daunarovich (Belarus) in group 3.
There are also a further three Koreans who are placed first in the preliminary round groups of four: Park Chan-Hyeok, An Jaehyun and Park Jeongwoo.
Victories for the three will be enough to send them through, and there is still the chance that both Kim Minho and Lee Junsang could progress. Could the main draw feature all eight of the Korean players who entered at the qualifying stage?
Ukrainian Edges Tight Encounters
If there was one standout player for the day, the title would probably be given to Ukraine’s Denys Kalachevskyi.
Kalachevskyi navigated two close battles in group 16 against Taras Merzlikin (Russia) and Huang Chien-Tu (Chinese Taipei) which both went to the final end. Both ties saw Kalachevskyi power to a 3-1 lead before his opponents recovered to draw the scores level, but on both occasions Kalachevskyi prevailed.
“During the break, my coach and I discussed the tactics, which enabled me to lead 3-1, but the Asian player (Huang Chien-Tu) has adapted quickly and won two sets” said Denys Kalachevskyi after his second victory of the day. “In the final set, I stepped up and gave it all I’ve got and won the match.”
Wednesday 7th September: Men’s Singles – Qualification Stage