15 Oct 2017

The qualification tournament which precedes the 2017 ITTF Challenge Polish Open commenced on Wednesday 4th October as unseeded players began their qualifying group campaigns in Czestochowa.

by Simon Daish

Strong start for home players

Six of the host nation’s competitors enjoyed perfect starts to the Women’s Singles group stage, giving the home fans plenty to cheer about on the opening day of the qualification event.

Katarzyna Wegrzyn began her group campaign with a win, emerging victorious over Hungary’s Orsolya Feher (11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-3) while Natalia Bajor occupies top spot in Group 2 following her straight games success against Huda Mustafa of Sweden (11-8, 11-8, 11-3, 11-3).

Over in Group 10 Magdalena Sikorska proved too strong for Singaporean opponent Tan En Hui (11-5, 11-3, 11-2, 11-8) with Julia Szymczak, Anna Wegrzyn and Julia Slazak also avoiding defeat in their respective encounters.

Dutch contestant Kim Vermaas suffered an opening match loss to Korea Republic’s Choi Moonyoung (4-11, 4-11, 5-11, 5-11), and Croatian player Mateja Jeger came close to a similar fate requiring a tremendous comeback against Aleksandra Michalak (9-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7) to keep her hopes of reaching the next round alive.

French flair

Alexandre Cassin made a bright start to the Men’s Singles group stage as all nine French representatives picked up victories on the first day of the qualification tournament.

Switzerland’s Daniel Memmi put up a brave fight but failed to find any sort of momentum as Alexandre Cassin stormed to a comfortable win (11-3, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7) while fellow Frenchman Abdel-Kader Salifou came through his opening fixture against Samuel Kulczycki (11-6, 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-13, 11-7).

There was a strong opening display for Brazilian competitor Cazuo Matsumoto, who negotiated his Group 4 match against Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo across six games (11-8, 7-11, 11-2, 8-11, 11-8, 11-3), and Japan’s Kaii Yoshida also impressed with two victories in Group 34.

Determination leads to success For Canadian duo

Two Canadian stars took the spotlight in the Under 21 Men’s Singles category on day one of the qualification tournament as Antoine Bernadet and Marko Medjugorac produced outstanding performances in their respective groups.

Antoine Bernadet put himself in serious contention for top spot in Group 3 with a stunning effort against Italian star Matteo Mutti (11-9, 9-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-9) while Marko Medjugorac caused somewhat of an upset in his Group 4 meeting with Aoto Asazu of Japan (11-9, 11-9, 12-14, 11-9).

The Czech Republic’s Kristyna Stefcova will disappointed with her start to the Under 21 Women’s Singles event after she suffered a five games defeat in her opening fixture against Singapore’s Zhang Wanling (11-8, 3-11, 6-11, 11-8, 7-11). However, there was joy for another country as Belarus’ Alina Nikitchanka and Marharyta Baltushite both prevailed in their respective matches.

Challenge Series 2017 Polish Open Kaii Yoshida Alexandre Cassin Natalia Bajor Katarzyna Wegrzyn

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