by Simon Daish
The first trophies on offer at the 2017 Belarus Open will be presented on Saturday 18th March, with both the Under 21 Men’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles finals set to take place at the Palace of Tennis.
Despite enduring a difficult match in the last four Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri will take to the table in the final of the Under 21 Men’s Singles tournament where he will face Cristian Pletea of Romania.
Top seed Kizukuri may head into the final as the slight favourite, but Pletea has been in fine form in Minsk and is more than capable of pulling off an upset.
Over in the Under 21 Women’s Singles draw Kyoka Kato and Saki Shibata are set to battle it out for the top step of the podium in an all-Japan final.
Kyoka Kato caused a big upset in the previous round after she eliminated the no.1 seed Maki Shiomi, but her opponent in the final Saki Shibata will be determined to better her runners up position achieved in the category at last year’s Belarus Open.
Moving across to the Women’s Doubles and there are two semi-final encounters to be played out on Day Two.
Poland’s Natalia Bajor and Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc came through their quarter-finals tie in five games and will go head-to-head with Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chia-Hsuan and Lin Po-Hsuan in the last four, while the Czech Republic’s Dana Cechova and Klaudia Kusinska of Poland prepare to take on the Japanese duo of Miyu Kato and Misaki Morizono.
The Men’s Singles event also resumes on Saturday 18th March, starting with action from the Round of 16 before concluding with quarter-finals matches.
Adrian Crisan of Romania will be looking to avoid suffering a shock upset in his opening fixture of the day as the second seeded player goes up against Russia’s Andrei Baibuldin, and in the top half of the draw there is an intriguing tie between the Czech Republic’s Dimitrij Prokopcov and Sun Chia-Hung of Chinese Taipei which could be worth keeping a close eye on.
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