03 May 2017

Making the most of an opportunity, it is the principle being followed by Chile’s Felipe Olivares in the Men’s Singles qualification tournament for the 2017 ITTF Challenge Zagreb Open.

On Wednesday 3rd May, he needed to beat Sweden’s Simon Berglund to keep hopes alive of first place in the group; he succeeded, he emerged successful in seven games (9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6, 3-11, 11-6) and duly secured top spot on points ratio.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

A chance of gaining a place in the main draw but there was one more hurdle, he needed to negotiate the preliminary round; once again he succeeded, once again he responded to the pressure of the situation and once again he seized the opportunity when the chances arose.

Listed at no.227 on the current Men’s World Rankings, he beat Italy’s Marco Rech Daldosso, named at no.193, in seven games (8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 16-18, 11-9, 11-8) to secure his place in the main draw.

Success somewhat contrary to ranking for Felipe Olivares; it was the same for Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki, Korea’s Cho Daeseong and  Frenchman Romain Ruiz, as it was for India’s Sanil Shetty and Austria’s Simon Pfeffer. Likewise, Sweden’s Mattias Översjö, India Sanil Shetty and Ecuador’s Alberto Miño upset the pecking order.

Nandor Ecseki and Cho Daeseong both emerged successful in contests decided by the minimal margin in the deciding seventh game. Listed at no.224 on the current Men’s World Rankings, Nandor Ecseki beat the host nation’s Frane Kojic, named at no.181 (11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 2-11, 11-5, 11-8, 13-11). Similarly, Cho Daeseong listed at no.268 and only 14 years old, accounted for Japan’s Takuto Izumo, listed at no.230 (9-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-13, 11-6, 12-10, 12-10).

“At the beginning it was two-one for Kojic, I felt I was the more active payer but I had made too many mistakes especially from my backhand. In the fourth game Kojic was unbelievably good, but I never gave up. Key moment of the match was, I think when I found out I was able to return his service short”, Nandor Ecseki

Close calls for Nandor Ecseki and Cho Daeseong, for Simon Pfeffer life was equally close and for Romain Ruiz only marginally more comfortable.

Listed at no.284 on the current Men’s World Rankings, Simon Pfeffer beat Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, named at no.216 by the very narrowest of seven games margins (11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 15-13, 7-11, 11-9), whilst in six games Romain Ruiz overcame Poland’s Marek Badowski (5-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9).

Presently Romain Ruiz is listed at no.301 on the Men’s World Rankings, Marek Badowski is at 277; however, the outcome could hardly be considered an upset. Romain Ruiz had won all four previous meeting in international tournaments.

Hard fought, similarly for Mattias Översjö, Sanil Shetty and Alberto Miño, the wins were hard fought but the outcomes were more comfortable.

No current World ranking Mattias Översjö beat Scotland’s Gavin Rumgay, named at no.273; Shanil Shetty, ranked no.204, ousted Belgium’s Martin Allegro listed at no.198, whilst Albert Miño ended the hopes of Germany’s Kilian Ort (11-6, 12-10, 12-10, 11-3).

In the present day Men’s World Rankings, Albert Miño is at no.208, Kilian Ort at no.157.

Challenge Series 2017 Zagreb (Croatia) Open Cho Daeseong Alberto Miño Sanil Shetty Nandor Ecseki Felipe Olivares Romain Ruiz Mattias Översjö

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