22 Aug 2017

Egypt’s Omar Assar, at no.39 on the current World Rankings, the highest rated player on duty in the Men’s Singles qualification tournament that precedes the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc, survived his opening round encounter on Tuesday 22nd August but only just, he very nearly, he came to grief.

Eventually, he overcame Sweden’s Elias Ranefur, listed at no.200 in the current order by the very narrowest of seven game margins (7-11, 11-3, 11-3, 4-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Success for Elias Ranefur; however, there were notable casualties.

Austria’s Robert Gardos, named at no.53 in the current global order was beaten by Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, listed at no.210; the 16 year old continuing his good form of earlier in the day when he had beaten Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko, the no.3 seed, at the quarter-final stage of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event (11-3, 11-4, 11-8).

“I felt very nervous before the match but I managed to control myself, I am very happy that I have won. The ability to change the tactics in the middle of the game led to the victory. I felt my backhand was very strong so I started playing more to his forehand. After winning the group my goal is to qualify to the main draw.” Lin Yun-Ju

Likewise, Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic and Germany’s Benedikt Duda experienced unexpected defeats.

After accounting for China’s Peng Feilong (12-10, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5), Bojan Tokic was beaten by Mehdi Bouloussa of France (12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6). Similarly, following success in opposition to Loïc Bobiller, also from France (11-6, 11-6, 11-3, 11-7), Germany’s Benedikt Duda witnessed defeat at the hands of Laurens Tromer of the Netherlands (6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 5-11, 13-11, 4-11, 11-3).

Presently in the global order, Bojan Tokic is named at no.56, Mehdi Bouloussa has noo such status; Benedikt Duda is at no.52, Laurens Tromer at no.216.

Furthermore, progress to the next stage is a forlorn hope for Robert Gardos; for Bojan Tokic and Benedikt Duda, the odds of progress to the preliminary round are very small.

Three players in the group, the win over Robert Gardos assured Lin Yun-Ju of progress; in the opening contest, he had beaten Italy’s Marco Rech Daldosso in four straight games (11-7, 11-3, 11-3, 12-10).

Meanwhile, for Bojan Tokic and Benedikt Duda the door is almost closed. Four players in the group; in the opening contests Mehdi Bouloussa had beaten Chinese Taipei’s Hung Tzu-Hsiang (11-8, 12-14, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6); Laurens Tromer had overcome Croatia’s Frane Kojic (7-11, 12-10, 11-4, 3-11, 11-7, 11-7).

Similarly, experiencing the same ultimate fate as Bojan Tokic and Benedikt Duda, England’s Liam Pitchford, ranked no.60 was beaten by China’s Li Yijie, a player new to the international scene (8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9, 11-13, 4-11, 12-10); Wang Zengyi, named at no.61, experienced defeat at the hands of Slovenia’s Deni Kozul, listed at no.225 (6-11, 11-8, 12-14, 11-7, 12-10, 14-12).

Liam Pitchford recovered to beat Germany’s Qiu Dang (11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8), whilst Wang Zengyi had earlier accounted for Romania’s Teodor Lipan (11-8, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6). Li Yijia duly completed the day unbeaten by overcoming Italy’s Leonardo Mutti (11-4, 11-4, 11-3, 8-11, 11-6); similarly Deni Kozul accounted for Belgium’s Florent Lambiet (10-12, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10).

In the Men’s Singles event, players finishing in first place in groups no.25 to no.38 compete in preliminary round one; the winners advance to preliminary round two where they are joined by the players who finished in first places in groups no.1 to no.24. The winners of the matches in preliminary round two advance to the main draw.

Play in the group stage and preliminary rounds conclude on Wednesday 23rd August.

World Tour 2017 Seamaster Czech Open Omar Assar Lin Yun -Ju Robert Gardos

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