15 Aug 2017

Pivotal to the Germany’s bronze medal success at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Bastian Steger won the 19th Flanders Ostend Masters on the evening of Saturday 12th August.

At the final hurdle, he beat former winner, Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic, in six games to arrest the title (11-3, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 9-11, 14-12).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The tournament involves eight players, six are invited; the remaining two places are filled by the players who reached the final of the Men’s Singles Class A event staged earlier in the day.

Both from Belgium, Lauric Jean and Cédric Merchez secured the two available places; in addition to Bastian Steger and Bojan Tokic, the invited players were Denmark’s Jonathan Groth and Ukraine’s Kou Lei alongside the host nation’s Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck.

It was for Lauric Jean, an opening round departure; he was beaten by Bastian Steger (11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-4), who in a rather more comfortable manner accounted for Robin Devos to book his place in the final (11-5, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5).

A first round exit for Lauric Jean; it was a very different scenario for Cédric Merchez; he caused a major upset by beating Kou Lei, at no.28 on the current world rankings, the highest rated player in the tournament.

A mischievous look from Cédric Merchez; certainly he stole the show (Photo: Erik Verboom)


He clinched victory in a contest that kept the spectators on the very edges of their seats. Cédric Merchez emerged successful by very minimal two point margin in the deciding seventh game (11-9, 11-6, 2-11, 11-9, 3-11, 5-11, 13-11).

Furthermore, one round later, at the semi-final stage, he nearly caused another upset; he established a three-nil lead against Bojan Tokic and stood level at 10-all in the fourth, before the Slovenian eventually recovered to win in seven games (7-11, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-9, 11-6).

Earlier at the quarter-final stage Bojan Tokic had beaten Cédric Nuytinck (11-8, 11-6, 17-15, 5-11, 6-11, 11-4); Robin Devos had overcome Jonathan Groth (11-5, 11-9, 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8).

The tournament was directed in a most splendid fashion as always by Jacques Denys.

Players and officials at the conclusion of play at the 19th Flanders Ostend Masters (Photo: Erik Verboom)


39th Flanders International: Roll of Honour – Classes (Friday 11th August)

39th Flanders International: Roll of Honour – Classes (Saturday 12th August)

39th Flanders International: Results – 19th Ostend Masters (Saturday 12th August)

39th Flanders International: Results – Senior Cup & Youth Cup (Tuesday 15th August)

General News Bastian Steger Bojan Tokic Jacques Denys