17 Mar 2017

Konstantin Chernov may not have enjoyed the brightest of starts to his Men's Singles qualifying group stage campaign on the opening day of the qualification tournament in Minsk but the Russian contestant has managed to move through to the 2017 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open main draw, edging through his final group match against Japan's Naoya Onishi (11-5, 1-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2, 7-11, 11-7) on Thursday 16th March.

by Simon Daish

The first day of the qualification event saw Konstantin Chernov pick up a straight games victory over Poland’s Artur Grela, but the Russian player then suffered a big setback when he was subject to a 0-4 defeat himself losing out to Gleb Shamruk of Belarus.

Requiring results to go his way Konstantin Chernov bounced back on the second qualifying day and not only did the Russian come through his tie against Naoya Onishi in seven ends, but Artur Grela’s triumph over Gleb Shamruk (11-5, 11-9, 2-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8) ensured that Chernov would be crowned as Group 12 winner.

Viacheslav Burov was another Russian representative to progress to the main draw, after he successfully took top spot in Group 3.

Following two victories obtained on the opening day of the qualification event Viacheslav Burov claimed his third successive group stage win, beating Moldova’s Victor Cissa without dropping a game (11-3, 13-11, 11-4, 13-11).

Success for Russia’s Konstantin Chernov and Viacheslav Burov, but there was disappointment for Ivan Nikulin.

Spain’s Carlos Franco has been performing at a high standard in Minsk and while Ivan Nikulin managed to take an early lead in the final group stage match it was his Spanish opponent who went on to claim the two group points after Franco won four consecutive games to oust Nikulin from the event (8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-5, 11-3)

“The match was a bit worrying for me, especially in the beginning. It was not until the second game that I got the rhythm of the game, changed the tactics and managed to win. I am happy with my results at this tournament – I played very well yesterday and kept the level today. My plans are to do everything I can. It’s the first time that I’m in Minsk, and I am impressed with the venue and the event itself”, Carlos Franco.

Tomasz Kotowski has scraped through to the Men’s Singles main draw in the tightest of fashions after the Polish player topped Group 9 on head-to-head  points ratio.

Victory for Tomasz Kotowski against Iran’s Amin Ahmadian across seven games (10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 3-11, 11-6) meant that both players alongside Bulgaria’s Kiril Popov all finished the group on five points.

Kotowski, Ahmadian and Popov couldn’t be separated on games ratio and so the attention turned to points ratio with Kotowski (127:125) finishing ahead of Popov (136:138) and Ahmadian (122:139) by the closest of margins.

“The Polish association have sent a big team to Minsk. Many strong athletes from different countries are participating in the competition, and that’s very good. The conditions in which the tournament is held are great. I’m glad that I have got to the main draw in the Men’s Singles”, Tomasz Kotowski.

Watch the 2017 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open unfold, follow the action live with itTV

Qual Day 2 - 2017 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open

Challenge Series Konstantin Chernov Tomasz Kotowski Carlos Franco

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