13 Aug 2017

An all European final, the verdict went in favour of France; Antoine Hachard and Gregoire Jean won the Men’s Doubles title at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open in Lagos on the afternoon of Sunday 13th August.

At the final hurdle they overcame Romania’s Alexandru Cazacu and Rares Sipos, in four games (9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9) to reserve the top step of the medal podium.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Success meant it was the third ITTF Challenge Series title for Antoine Hachard; in 2016 he had enjoyed Men’s Singles success in the Chilean capital city of Santiago in addition securing the Men’s Doubles in harness with Romain Ruiz.

However to become the most successful Frenchman on either the ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series, he has some distance to travel. Patrick Chila, now one of the national coaches, won on no less than seven occasions.

Notably on six of those occasions he won when partnering a fellow French left hander, thought in many quarter not to be the ideal combination, twice with Christophe Legout, four times with Jean-Philippe Gatien. The only right hander with whom he enjoyed success was Austria’s Werner Schlager; in 2006 they won in Bremen, Germany.

The only other all French pairing to secure an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles title is that of Armand Phung and Loïc Bobiller; they succeeded in Morocco in 2009.

Defeat in Lagos for Alexandru Cazacu and Rares Sipos but they can lay claim to being the most successful Romanian pairing ever on either the ITTF World Tour or the ITTF Challenge Series.

Incredibly, despite all the success enjoyed by Romania over the years, no pair from that country has ever won such a title.

The nearest is Andrei Filimon who partnered Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic to success in 2006 in Belgrade and more recently, at this year’s Seamaster 2017 ITTF Challenge Series Chile Open, when Hunor Szocs joined forces with Bulgaria’s Philipp Floritz, the pair finishing in runners up spot.

Alexandru Cazacu and Rares Sipos stand tall; you achieved in Lagos what no fellow countryman has ever achieved!

2017 ITTF Challenge Lagos (Nigeria) Rares Sipos Antoine Hachard Alexandru Cazacu Gregoire Jean
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