by Simon Daish
Players competing in the Men’s Singles qualifying group stage who secure a top spot finish in groups 1 to 18 will earn positions in the second preliminary round and one competitor who will be hoping to achieve that goal is Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna.
The winner of the 2017 ITTF Africa Cup is participating in Group 7 in Stockholm where fixtures against Sweden’s Alexander Frenzen and Greek contestant Ioannis Sgouropoulos await. Quadri Aruna may be the favourite to top the group but could there be a potential upset on the cards?
Lower down the draw the remaining group winners will advance through to the first preliminary round.
Harald Andersson, who is representing the host nation, produced a wonderful comeback in his opening qualification tie, recovering from three games to one down to beat Korean opponent Park Gyeongtae across seven games and will be confident of his chances in his final Group 29 encounter against Quentin Robinot of France.
Unlike the Men’s Singles event there is just the one preliminary round in the Women’s Singles qualification tournament. Places in the final qualifying stage will be awarded to the 32 players finishing at the summit of their respective groups.
Chinese competitor Chen Ke enjoyed a fantastic campaign last week at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open, lifting the Under 21 Women’s Singles trophy and reaching the quarter-finals of the Women’s Singles draw in Magdeburg.
Beginning her Women’s Singles journey in the qualification tournament, just as she did in Germany, Chen Ke’s aim is to progress from Group 27. She already has one victory to her name and is searching for further success in her two remaining fixtures with home player Tilda Johansson and Korea Republic’s Song Maeum providing the opposition.
One competitor who is in danger of missing out on playing any further part beyond the group stage is Dina Meshref, who suffered a seven games defeat in Group 21 at the hands of Japan’s Mitsuho Kimura on the opening day of qualification action.
Egypt’s Dina Meshref takes on Zhang Mo in the afternoon session of play, but could be eliminated prior to the match if Mitsuho Kimura earns a favourable result against the Canadian.