by Simon Daish
Under 21 Men’s Singles
Thibaut Darcis was drawn in group 5 of the qualifying group stage, and after the opening day’s action the Belgian is in pole position to qualify for the main draw.
The opening match for Darcis (37th) proved somewhat problematic as Kim Doyub (Korea Republic), who is seeded 17 spots higher than the Belgian player, went 1-2 ahead in the tie with just one more game win required for the victory.
However, Darcis refused to give in and after bringing the match level he went on to narrowly steal the fifth game to shock the Korean (10-12, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9).
Then Darcis picked up his second win of the day, beating Alexis Mommessin (France) in four ends to move top of the group.
“It was a difficult match against the Korean defender Kim Doyub. I don’t like to play against defenders and was of course very happy to win after five tight sets. In the second match against the Frenchman (Alexis Mommessin) I felt more pressure, because a win was important for the first place in the group… I now hope to qualify for the main draw, that’s my objective” – Thibaut Darcis (Belgium).
Florian Cnudde and Valentin Pieraert are two of the home competitors who could be in for an exciting finale to their groups.
Group 3 sees Cnudde sitting in second place following a win against Koen Hageraats (Netherlands) and a defeat to Claus Nielsen (Denmark), while Pieraert is also in a similar situation to his compatriot, occupying the runner-up spot in group 6.
Under 21 Women’s Singles
There are just the six qualifying groups in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, with only two of the groups holding four players and the other four groups consisting of three.
Belgium will be disappointed with how day one unfolded for their Under 21 female representatives, with four of the six home players losing their matches. But there were victories for two Belgians with Lisa Lung and Eline Loyen leading the way.
Lisa Lung saw off India’s Mallika Bhandarkar and Celine Reust of Switzerland in group 5 to move joint top with Leili Mostafavi (France), and the match between Lung and Mostafavi on day two will decide who wins the group.
After two positive results for Eline Loyen, the Belgian contestant has pulled a point clear at the top of group 6 heading into the final round of qualification. Tanja Helle (Netherlands) and Le Thi Hong Loan (Italy) were brushed aside by Loyen, and following Loyen’s second win she stated that she is yet to find her form in the De Haan Under 21 category:
“I won two important matches for the first place in the group. I wasn’t so happy about level of play, but I think it’s also because I have to adapt to the tables and the hall. My goal is to get far in this competition” – Eline Loyen (Belgium).
Wan Yuan (Germany) and Aida Rahmo (Egypt) lead group 1 and will face each other on day two for first position in the group, and it’s a similar scenario for group 3 with Giorgia Piccolin (Italy) and Laura Pfefer (France) leading the group of three players.
Tuesday 20th September: Under 21 Men’s Singles – Qualification Stage
Tuesday 20th September: Under 21 Women’s Singles – Qualification Stage