12 Aug 2017

Success for Europe, mixed fortunes for Egypt that was the scenario as play concluded in the respective Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles semi-final contests at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open in Lagos on the afternoon of Saturday 12th August.

However, it could well have been a very different outcome; three of the four matches in question needed deciding fifth games.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The one contest not to go to the wire was in the lower half of the draw in the Men’s Doubles event; Romania’s Alexandru Cazacu and Rares Sipos were most certainly in harmony and in no mood for charity.

Impressively, they overcame the Indian combination of Sarthak Gandhi and Sanil Shetty in three straight games (11-6, 11-5, 11-2); a most convincing win against two players who were surely full of confidence. Earlier in the day in the first round of the Men’s Singles event, Sanil Shetty, the no.8 seed, had beaten Nigeria’s Tobi Falana (8-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6); Sarthak Gandhi had caused the upset of the year by overcoming Qatar’s Li Ping, the no.3 seed (11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10).

A comprehensive win for the Romanians; for their European compatriots in the opposite half of the draw, it was a far more exacting penultimate round experience. The French partnership formed by Antoine Hachard and Gregoire Jean endured nervous moments, before eventually beating Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali and Ahmed Ali Saleh (11-8, 3-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8).

Defeat for Egypt; in the semi-final round of the Women’s Doubles competition; for the North African country, it was one reverse, one win.

Farah Abdel-Aziz and Amira Yousry suffered at the hands of Hungary’s Bernadett Balint and Szandra Pergel (11-3, 8-11, 11-4, 13-15, 11-3); in the opposite half of the draw, Yousra Helmy and Dina Meshref combined to overcome the host nation’s Cecilia Akpan and Janet Effiom (5-11, 11-2, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8).

The final of the Women’s Doubles event is scheduled for Sunday 13th August at 2.00pm (local time) to be followed immediately by the Men’s Doubles final.

2017 ITTF Challenge Lagos (Nigeria) Ahmed Ali Saleh Antoine Hachard Mohamed El-Beiali Gregoire Jean

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Day 3 - 2017 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open

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