by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Defeat for Kirill Gerassimenko but he can reflect on a very successful tournament, just as Quadri Aruna is setting new standards for Nigeria, the 20 year old is setting even higher standards for Kazakhstan; the efforts of Quadri Aruna follow in the footsteps of the likes of Atanda Musa and Segun Toriola, Kirill Gerassimenko is treading his own path.
He started the year on a bright note when he won the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open in Budapest, in the ensuing months there have been ups and downs but that is sport. Notably earlier in the tournament in Czestochowa he suffered a surprise third round exit in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event when beaten by Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen (9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8) but that defeat was resigned to history, the next challenge was eagerly awaited. He did not cry over spilt milk.
A semi-final finish for a young man who was required to compete in the qualification tournament and started as the 38th highest rated player in the event was no mean performance.
Meanwhile, for Benedikt Duda, in realistic terms, although Kaii Yoshida has no world ranking, his pedigree suggests he is the favourite to beat any adversary in the whole tournament.
Gaining a place in the current German national team is no easy task with Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Timo Boll being such commanding figures; realistically there is just one place available but ever more Benedikt Duda is knocking at the door.
In Czestochowa, whilst seeds fell like autumn leaves, Benedikt Duda remained focused and stood firm; just as with Kirill Gerassimenko, a semi-final finish was a step forward in a blossoming career.