18 Nov 2016

Former national champions against expectations, with similar sounding first names but different spellings, Steffen Mengel and Stéphane Ouaiche, on Friday 18th November in Stockholm, once again emerged successful against the odds.

In the second round of the Men’s event at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open, Steffen Mengel, who had been crowned German national champion in 2013 when he beat Timo Boll in the final, belied his status as the no.31 seed, to overcome China’s Zhou Yu, the no.4 seed (12-14, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 13-15, 11-6).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

A few minutes earlier, Stéphane Ouaiche, the French national champion in 2014 when accounting for Christophe Legout in the title deciding contest and the no.29 seed in Stockholm, overcame Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, the no.5 seed (11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 15-13, 11-8).

Upsets, the achievements of Steffen Mengel and Stéphane Ouaiche were the most prominent but there were more; João Monteiro redressed the balance for Portugal, whilst Benedek Duda emulated compatriot Steffen Mengel and Liam Pitchford flew the cross of St George for England.

João Monteiro, the no.18 seed, beat the host nation’s Kristian Karlsson, the no.10 seed (11-9, 12-10, 11-8, 13-11); Liam Pitchford, the no.20 seed, overcame Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.12 seed (11-2, 11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7). Similarly, Benedikt Duda who had been required to compete in the qualification stage continued his progress unabated. He ended the hopes of Poland’s Wang Zengyi (11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5).

One qualifier through to the second round of the Men’s Singles event, by definition there was one more; both required to compete on the first three days of action and both without a current World ranking, Japan’s Jin Ueda overcame China’s Wang Chuqin (11-7, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6).

However, for the remaining players who had advanced to round two via the preliminary stages it was the end of the road but one member of the group came perilously close to causing a major upset.

Germany’s Timo Boll, the top seed, needed the full seven games to beat Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan (8-11, 11-5, 11-1, 8-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7). Somewhat similarly, the Slovak Republic’s Wang Yang, the no.21 seed, required six games to overcome England’s David McBeath (11-5, 6-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-3, 11-7), as did Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An, the no.9 seed, when confronting India’s Harmeet Desai (11-9, 11-6, 10-12, 8-11, 11-6, 20-18).

Meanwhile, for the remaining three qualifiers who had advanced to round two, the margin of victory was more clear-cut.

Japan’s Yuya Oshima, the no.15 seed, beat Chinese Taipei’s Yeh Chih-Wei (11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3), whilst Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.11 seed, overcame Sweden’s Elias Ranefur (11-5, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6) and Ukraine’s Kou Lei, the no.14 seed, accounted for Japan’s Masaki Yoshida (11-5, 11-2, 11-4, 12-10).

Likewise, Portugal’s Marcos Freitas beat Belgium’s Martin Allegro (11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 11-6); Mattias Karlsson, the no.16 seed, ended the journey of Belgium’s Florent Lambiet (11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5).

Notably Mattias Karlsson is the only Swedish player to reach the third round.

Progress Marcos Freitas, it was the same for Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.3 seed, he accounted for India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta, the no.32 seed (11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7); thus the top three names all reserved third round places.

The third round and quarter-finals of the Men’s Singles event will be played on Saturday 19th November. 

World Tour Swedish Open Steffen Mengel Stéphane

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