by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Listed at no.83 on the current Under 21 Men’s World Rankings, Denis Ivonin, the highest ranked player in the qualification stage, was beaten by Austria’s Narayan Kapolnek, named at no.351; focused the 19 year old recovered from a two games to nil deficit to emerge successful by the minimal two point margin (6-11, 10, 11-6, 11-4, 13-11).
Defeat in five games, it was exactly the same for Yanapong Panagitgun and Arjun Ghosh; both suffered agonising defeats by the very narrowest of decisions in the decisive fifth game.
Ranked no.125, Yanapong Panagitgun was beaten by 19 year old Canadian, Matthew Lehmann, listed at no.466 (11-7, 8-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9); Arjun Ghosh lost to Korea’s Han Yubeen. Presently on the Under 21 Men’s World Rankings, 20 year old Arjun Ghosh is at no.135; Han Yubeen, one year younger has no status.
Close defeats and there was almost one more; Andrey Semenov, like Denis Ivonin from Russia and named at no.125 on the Under 21 Men’s World Rankings came perilously close to defeat. The 16 year old was extended to the full distance by the host nation’s 17 year old Mario Banek (11-1, 8-11, 11-7, 15-17, 11-5).
Three surprises and one close call; for the other leading names on Under 21 Men’s Singles qualification stage duty, with the exception of Denis Ivonin it was a successful start to proceedings.
Romania’s Alexandru Manole beat Croatia’s Marko Vidacek (11-4, 11-4, 11-8), Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi accounted for Russia’s Petr Fedotov (7-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8); whilst Japan’s Masaki Takami overcame Abdulaziz Alamri, like Ali Alkhadrawi from Saudi Arabia.
Play in the group qualification stage of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event continues later in the day.