18 Jan 2017

Defeats against expectations but at the end of the opening day on Tuesday 17th January in the Men’s Singles qualification event at the Seamaster 2017 Hungarian Open in Budapest, it was a case of all’s well that ends well for Croatia’s Frane Kojic, Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang and Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus.

All won their concluding group stage matches in style to secure first place and thus a passport to the preliminary rounds.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Listed at no.259 on the current Men’s World Rankings, Aliaksandr Khanin had been beaten in his opening exchange earlier in the day by Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo, listed at no.599, in a full distance seven games duel (11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 1-11, 15-13, 11-9).

In his concluding contest, after Olajide Omotayo had been beaten by Russia’s Fedor Kuzmin, at no.143 the highest ranked player in the group, in six games (11-9, 7-11, 12-14, 11-5, 12-10, 11-5), the young Belarusian responded. Against the odds he accounted for Fedor Kuzmin, the Men’s Singles winner on the ITTF World Tour in Slovenia in 2005, in four straight games (11-1, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6).

The win meant that on games ratio, it was first place for Aliaksandr Khanin (7:4), ahead Olajide Omotayo (6:7) and Fedor Kuzmin (4:6).

First place for Aliaksandr Khanin against expectations, it was first place according to expectations for Frane Kojic and Lam Siu Hang.

Named at no.167 on the present day Men’s World Rankings, after Singapore’s Clarence Chew, listed at no.215, had beaten the unranked Slovakian Erik Illas in four straight games (12-10, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9); Frane Kojic had found Erik Illas fully recovered after his earlier reverse.

The Croatian was beaten in seven games (10-12, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 5-11); a good performance in his concluding contest against Clarence Chew was demanded. It was duly delivered, he won in five games (11-4, 11-2, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8).

Therefore by a narrow margin, first place was secured; on games ratio Frane Kojic claimed top spot (7:5) ahead of Clarence Chew (5:4) and Erik Illas (4:7).

A close call, it was the same for Lam Siu Hang, named at no.181 on the Men’s World Rankings.

After Ecuador’s Alberto Miño had beaten the host nation’s Peter Fazekas in five games (11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3), the Hungarian responded to overcome Lam Siu Hang in a close seven games duel (6-11, 13-11, 8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9).

Similar to Frane Kojic, a top class performance was need from Lam Siu Hang and like the Croatian he answered the call. He accounted for Alberto Miño in five games (11-8, 12-10, 10-12, 12-10, 11-6).

Currently Alberto Miño is named at no.206 on the Men’s World Rankings, Erik Illas has no standing.

Qual. Day 1 - Seamaster 2017 Hungarian Open

World Tour 2017 Hungarian Open Frane Kojic Lam Siu Hang and Aliaksandr Khanin

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