05 May 2017

Favourites for gold; the top seeds in both the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles events at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Zagreb Open reserved quarter-final places following their efforts on the evening of Thursday 4th May in the Croatian capital city.

However, it was a very different story for the second seeds and differing fortunes for the host nation; one pair fell, one progressed

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The no.1 seeds in the Men’s Doubles event, Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi beat the Korean combination of Cho Daeseong and Park Gyeontae (11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5) in their opening round encounter but when India’s Arjun Ghosh and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.2 seeds, faced a Korean partnership, it was a different outcome.

They were beaten by Choi Wonjin and Lee Jungwoo, the winners the previous week in Slovenia (10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9).

Defeat Arjun Ghosh and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran; moreover in the lower half of the Men’s Doubles draw, all four seeded partnerships departed in round one.

Sweden’s Victor Brodd and Hampus Nordberg beat Russia’s Kirill Skachkov and Grigory Vlasov, the no.3 seeds (11-9, 11-9, 11-8); likewise the combination of Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Finland’s Benedek Olah overcame the French combination of Can Akkuzu and Romain Ruiz, the no.7 seeds (11-13, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7).

Meanwhile, not to be left out, Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri and Masaki Takami ended the aspirations of the host nation; they defeated Tomislav Kolarek and Miho Simovic (11-6, 11-5, 11-3).

Surprises; the end result is that a qualifier is guaranteed a place in the final and just two of the top four pairs remain. In addition to Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, Iranian brothers Nima Alamian and Noshad Alamiyan, the no.4 seeds, reserved their quarter-final courtesy of success in opposition to Sweden’s Harald Andersson and Simon Ardvisson (11-9, 11-8, 11-7).

The end of the road for the second seeds in the Men’s Doubles event, it was exactly the same in the Women’s Doubles competition, where the Russian partnership of Polina Mikhailova and Olga Vorobeva experienced defeat at the hands of the Belarus combination formed by Nadezhda Bogdanova and Daria Trigolos (11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6).

Problems for Polina Mikhailova and Olga Vorobeva, it was the same for Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, the no.5 seeds. They lost to Romania’s Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman (11-9, 3-11, 8-11, 11-9).

Farewell to two seeded pairs in the opening round of the Women’s Doubles competition; it was farewell to one more and again disappointment for Hungary. Bernadett Balint and Mercedes Nagyvaradi, the no.7 seeds, experienced defeat at the hands of Hong Kong’s Lam Yee Lok and Liu Qi in the closest match of the round (10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9).

Surprises but with the exception of Polina Mikhailova and Olga Vorobeva, it was opening round success for the leading pairs in the first round of the Women’s Doubles event.

Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, the top seeds, beat Korea’s Kang Dayeon and Shin Yubin (11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8); Chinese Taipei’s Lee I-Chen and Liu Hsing-Yin, the no.3 seeds, overcame Japan’s Miyuu Kihara and Saki Shibata (11-2, 13-11, 9-11, 11-9). Similarly, Germany’s Chantal Mantz and Wan Yuan, the no.4 seeds, ended the hopes of Ji Eunchae and Lee Eunhye, like Kang Dayeon and Shin Yubin from Korea (11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7).

Differing fortunes for visitors to Zagreb but for the host nation, in the opening round of the Women’s Doubles event, there was success; Mirela Durak and Mateja Jeger flew the flag for Croatia; the no.8 seeds, they accounted for Puerto Rican sisters, Adriana and Melanie Diaz (12-10, 11-6, 11-9).

The quarter-finals and semi-finals of both the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles events will be played on Friday 5th March.

Challenge Series 2017 Zagreb (Croatia) Open Hitomi Sato Honoka Hashimoto Adam Szudi Nandor Ecseki Mateja Jeger Mirela Durak

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