by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
They combined to beat Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck, the top seeds and winners on the ITTF World Tour in the Philippines in 2015, when beating Japan’s Hokuto Koriyama and Kenta Tazoe to arrest the precious title.
In a tense full distance five games contest they withstood a spirited recovery by the Belgian duo to emerge successful by the very narrowest of margins in the deciding game (11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 2-11, 12-10).
Defeat against expectations for Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck; there was also defeat for their colleagues, Martin Allegro and Florent Lambiet. However, their exit was no great surprise, qualifiers they were beaten by Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, the no.3 seeds (11-3, 11-9, 11-9).
Unexpected and expected; overall the outcome is that a pair required to compete in the qualification tournament will reach the final. In the penultimate round Jens Lundqvist and Jon Persson meet the Korean combination of Choi Wonjin and Lee Jungwoo, likewise not seeded.
They booked their semi-final place courtesy of success in opposition to fellow qualifiers, the combination of Croatia’s Frane Kojic and Spain’s Alvaro Robles (11-9, 12-10, 11-4).
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, the no.3 seeds, will meet Iranian brothers, Nima Alamian and Noshad Alamiyan, the no.5 seeds to determine a place in the final.
At the quarter-final stage, Nima Alamian and Noshad Alamiyan beat Japan’s Yuki Matsuyama and Kauhiro Yoshimura (11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 11-3), the shock first round winner in opposition to Russia’s Alexey Liventsov and Taras Merzlikin, the top seeds (11-9, 12-10, 13-11).
The Men’s Doubles semi-finals are scheduled for later today at 4.05pm (local time).