by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A surprise, with the greatest of respect to Quentin Robinot who was outstanding at the recent Liebherr 2017 European Team Championships and excelled expectations to reach the round of the last eight in Czestochowa, he was beaten by a player of equal or higher pedigree.
There is no doubt whatsoever that if Kaii Yoshida had not been absent from the international scene in recent times, his name would have appeared amongst the top eight, if not the top four or even top two names in Czestochowa.
Furthermore, he is a delight to watch, he is Japan’s Ryu Seungmin, the Athens 2004 Olympic Games gold medallist; right handed, pen-hold grip, scampering about the court at a hundred miles an hour in order execute his favoured forehand, he throws caution to the wind.
Awaiting in the penultimate round is a player of a completely different ilk; the left handed shake-hands grip German star, Benedikt Duda, the no.2 seed. Powerful he reserved his place in the penultimate round courtesy of success against India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.24 seed. Benedikt Duda prevailed in six games (11-4, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7).
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the top seed, accounted for French qualifier Abdel-Kader Salifou (11-5, 11-5, 11-4, 11-0) and now meets a further player who was required to compete in the qualification tournament; he opposes Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimienko.
At the quarter-final stage, he accounted for fellow qualifier, England’s Sam Walker in a contest of two very evenly matched players (9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7).
The semi-finals of the Men’s Singles event are scheduled to start at 10.00am on Sunday 8th October.