by Simon Daish
The main draw commences on Friday 17th March, and the no.1 seed Vladimir Samsonov will have his eyes firmly set on featuring in the Men’s Singles final which will take place on Sunday 19th March.
Vladimir Samsonov has appeared at the Belarus Open on two occasions and, at both the 2008 and 2014 competitions, he emerged successful with victories over Xu Xin and Wang Zengyi in the respective finals.
Attempting to claim his third trophy at the tournament, Samsonov will be looking to maintain his successful record in Minsk at the first ever ITTF Challenge Series event.
Another former Men’s Singles champion heading to the competition is Russia’s Vasily Lakeev, who obtained the title at the 2012 Belarus Open.
Vasily Lakeev stood victorious over fellow compatriot Mikhail Paikov on that occasion, and one year later Lakeev went on to finish the 2013 Belarus Open as the Men’s Singles runner up. Both Lakeev and Paikov are set to compete in Minsk once again at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open and have been seeded 13th and eighth for the draw.
Poland has two competitors seeded in the top 16 of the Men’s Singles as the 2014 silver medallist Wang Zengyi is joined by Daniel Gorak.
Wang Zengyi has been seeded third for the 2017 competition in Minsk, while Daniel Gorak, who recently became Polish National Champion, occupies position no.7 on the seeding list.
France’s Antoine Hachard and Enzo Angles will be looking to impress in Minsk having been seeded 10th and 14th respectively for the event, while Ukraine also has two seeded players with Yaroslav Zhmudenko and Viktor Yefimov travelling to Belarus.
Seeded second is five-time Olympian Adrian Crisan of Romania, while Turkey’s Li Ahmet has been named as the fourth seed. The additional seeds for the Men’s Singles draw are the Czech Republic’s Dimitrij Prokopcov, Greece’s Kalinikos Kreanga, Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri and the host nation’s Pavel Platonov.