by Simon Daish
First up for 15th seed Cedric Nuytinck in the Round of 16 was the straightforward task of having to eliminate the number one seed of the category Omar Assar (Egypt).
Assar was hoping to leave the tournament in De Haan with his third World Tour Men’s Singles title, but Nuytinck had other ideas and livened up the Belgian fans’ mood with an astonishing 4-0 victory.
Then Cedric Nuytinck was drawn against another higher seeded player with Russia’s Mikhail Paikov awaiting in the quarter-finals.
Nuytinck didn’t make a brilliant start to the match losing the opening two ends in deuce, and just when it looked as though the Belgian competitor was starting to find a grip on the tie with a victory in game three, his opponent Paikov restored his two game lead in the best of seven encounter.
Time was running out for Nuytinck and being his country’s sole remaining contestant in the category, there was a great deal of pressure riding on the result. However, Nuytinck picked up not one, not two, but three games in a row to stun Paikov (13-15, 9-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-5) and send the spectators into raptures of applause for their main man.
“Of course I am very happy to win 4-0 against first seed Omar Assar. This victory is also very important for my world ranking. In the coming months I want to make a lot of progress on the list. Against Paikov I was struggling in the first sets and had to find other tactics. In the final set I felt really good in the game and was able to get the win. It was a hard match” – Cedric Nuytinck (Belgium).
Next up for Cedric Nuytinck in the top half of the semi-finals draw is German player Benedikt Duda, who defeated Japan’s Kenji Matsudaira.
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (India) is another surprise addition to the semi-finals, having got the better of Steffen Mengel (Germany) across six games.
Seeded 25th in the event, very few in the crowd would have predicted to see Gnanasekaran involved in the programme for the final day of the Open, but the Indian will indeed be showing up for a semi-finals match on day five following a tremendous sixth end shock win against second seed Mengel (8-11, 16-14, 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5).
“This is for sure the biggest win in my career” said Sathiyan Gnanasekaran following his quarter-finals success. “Mengel is a very good player and was the second seed of the tournament. I am playing incredibly well. There is no pressure for me, but now I want to go and win the title tomorrow.”
Swedish representative Harald Andersson will also have to prepare to play on finals day, and the 21st seed will fancy his chances against Sathiyan Gnanasekaran who has a lower rank. Andersson knocked out Abdel-Kader Salifou, coming from behind to beat the Frenchman in the deciding game.
Friday 23rd September: Men’s Singles – Main Draw