26 Apr 2017

A third international appearance of the year, India’s Arjun Ghosh was young man in form, as play commenced on the morning of Wednesday 26th April at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Slovenia Open in Otocec.

Present earlier in the year on home soil in New Delhi and later in Bangkok, he emerged the one player to be assured of first place in the group qualification stage of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event. Thus he reserved his place in the main draw.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

After accounting for Sweden’s Oscar Perman, listed at no.137 on the current Under 21 Men’s World Rankings (15-13, 11-5, 11-6); the 20 year old Indian, named at no.135, caused a major upset. He beat Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus (12-10, 11-7, 11-4).

Not only is Aliaksandr Khanin much higher rated at no.53 in the global order, he is an ever more integral member of the Belarus Men’s National Team, as the days of Vladimir Samsonov move into their twilight years.

Aliaksandr Khanin, who celebrated his 19th birthday earlier this month on Thursday 13th April impressed at both the Liebherr 2015 European Championships and at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships. Most certainly, he is a name to note.

“The first match I faced difficulties getting used to the light, the table, the bounce. I really think winning the first game 15-13 was very important for my confidence. The second match against Aliaksandr Khanin from Belarus was a very though one as he was the first seed in the group. I started really aggressively and I managed to play my game which brought me the victory.” Arjun Ghosh

A surprise defeat for Aliaksandr Khanin; additionally there were two further notable names who experienced problems.

Listed at no.60 on the present day Under 21 World Rankings, Germany’s Denis Klein, after beating Korea’s Han Yunbeen (11-7, 11-5, 11-9), experienced defeat at the hands of Lithuania’s Medardas Stankievicius (3-11, 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3).

However, for the German, hopes of top place remain alive; he faces the Czech Republic’s Stanislav Kucera in the concluding group phase contest. Stanislav Kucera is the one unbeaten player in the group; he made the ideal start to his campaign accounting for both Medardas Stankievicius (11-6, 12-14, 15-13, 6-11, 11-1) and Han Yubeen (11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4).

On the current Under 21 Men’s World Rankings, Medardas Stankievicius is named at no.190, Stanislav Kucera at no.113; Han Yubeen has no such status.

Defeat against expectations for Denis Klein; it was the same for Frenchman, Romain Ruiz. No current World ranking owing to an absence from international play but in June 2016 as high as no.69; after overcoming Ukraine’s Anton Limonov, named at no.468 (11-9, 11-2, 11-8), he was beaten by England’s Luke Savill, listed at no.239 (11-8, 13-11, 11-3).

Spain’s Carlos Vedriel, ranked no.111, remains the one unbeaten player in the group; he overcame Luke Savill (11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6) and Anton Limonov (11-7, 11-7, 11-5).

Surprises but other than for Aliaksandr Khanin, it was success for the principal names on first phase duty. Japan’s Yuki Matsuyama received a walk-over against the absent Frenchman Clement Chobeau, Hungary’s Nador Ecseki beat Germany’s Nils Hohmeier (5-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-3); Kanak Jha of the United States accounted for Italy’s Luca Bressan (9-11, 11-4, 11-1, 11-4).

Play in the group qualification stage of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event concludes on Thursday 27th April.


Photo by: Deepak Malik/ SPORTZPICS


Challenge Series 2017 Slovenian Open Aliaksandr Khanin Arjun Ghosh

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