16 Aug 2017

Runner up earlier in the year in May in the Junior Boys’ Singles event at the SET 2017 Thailand Junior and Cadet Open; India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar emerged as the name to note on the opening day of play, Tuesday 15th August, in the qualification tournament that precedes the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open in Panagyrurishte.

Listed at no.365 on the current Men’s World Ranking list; he caused the host nation pain by beating Denlislav Kodjabashev, named at no.352 in the current global order (11-4, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Furthermore, on what was a busy day for the 17 year old, he came close to causing a major upset in his second Men’s Singles appearance; he extended Japan’s 23 year old Asuka Machi, the full seven games distance (14-16, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10, 11-13, 11-4, 11-5).

Presently, Asuka Machi stands at no.93 on the Men’s World Rankings.

Asuka Machi and Yuto Kizukuri are the two highest rated players on duty in the Men’s Singles qualification tournament, both share the no.93 spot on the current Men’s World Ranking. Similarly, Yuto Kizukuri enjoyed a first match success but with less drama. On his one visit to the table, he beat Ukraine’s Viktor Didukh (11-5, 11-5, 11-2, 11-8).

Great credit must go to Viktor Didukh for having the sheer guts to enter the tournament; he is a Class 8 Para player, who some years ago suffered a leg amputation owing to cancer.

Defeat for Manan Vikash Thakkar in the Men’s Singles event, success for Yuto Kizukuri; in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event, it was the reverse scenario with Manav Vikash Thakkar emerging the shock semi-finalist.

The no.26 seed, after beating Paul Gauzy, the no.16 seed (11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 3-11, 11-8), he accounted for Chinese Taipei, Yang Heng-Wei, the no.6 seed (10-12, 12-10, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6), before recording a quarter-final success against Hungary’s Adam Szudi, the no.10 seed (11-6, 11-8, 11-8). Notably Adam Szudi was a man in form; one round earlier he had beaten Yuto Kizukuri, the top seed (12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7).

Manav Vikash Thakkar the player to catch the eye; not far behind came Chinese Taipei’s Chou Ye-Hao. World ranked no.445, he upset the odds and ended the day the only player mathematically assured of first place in any of the Men’s Singles group. The 17 year old accounted for Sweden’s Antony Tran, named at no.254 (11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 13-11), before causing an even bigger upset by ousting India’s Amalraj Anthony, named at no.125 (11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6).

Good form from Chou Ye-Hao in the Men’s Singles event; earlier in the day, it had been the same in the Under 21 Men’s Singles competition. The no.32 seed, in the opening round he beat Frenchman, Paul Gauzy, the no.3 seed (11-8, 12-10, 2-11, 11-9). One round later, Aliaksandr Khanan of Belarus, the no.14 seed, ended progress (12-14, 11-5, 15-13, 8-11, 12-10). Success for Aliaksandr Khanan but at the quarter-final stage, the Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky, the no.5 seed, ended progress (6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 11-4).

At the semi-final stage of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event, Tomas Polansky faces Manav Vikash Thakkar; in the opposite half of the draw, an all Japanese contests sees Mizuki Oikawa, the no.2 seed, face Yuma Tsuboi, the no.4 seed.

Surprises in the Men’s Singles qualification tournament and in the Under 21 Men’s Singles competition; in the counterpart Women’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles events, the upsets were few and far between.

The only Women’s Singles surprise of note was the defeat of Hungary’s Szandra Pergel, listed at no.83 on the World Rankings, the fourth highest rated player on duty in the in the event. She was beaten by the host nation’s Anelia Karova (11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8), named at no.302.

Otherwise for the leading names, it was opening match success; the Czech Republic’s Iveta Vacenovska, Japan’s Miyu Maeda and Russia’s Maria Dolgikh all made positive starts.

Likewise, in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, matters advanced as per status with Japan providing three of the four semi-finalists. At the semi-final stage Kyoka Kato, the top seed, meets Mizuki Morizono, the no.4 seed; in the opposite half of the draw, Miyu Maeda, the no.2 seed, faces Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.3 seed.

The Under 21 Men’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles events will be played to a conclusion on Wednesday 16th August.

World Tour 2017 Seamaster Asarel Bulgaria Open Manav Vikash Thakkar

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Day 4 - 2017 ITTF Asarel Bulgaria Open

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