25 Nov 2017

The day belonged to Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang; he was the player very much in form on Saturday 25th November, at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Almeria.

He won the Under 21 Men’s Singles title, before later in the day, against the odds, reserving a Men’s Singles semi-final place.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Impressively he accounted for the Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky to claim the Under 21 Men’s Singles title (11-13, 14-12, 11-9, 11-8), whilst in the Men’s Singles event, in both the third round and in the quarter-finals, he caused upsets.

The no.10 seed, he beat compatriot Jiang Tianyi, the no.2 seed (7-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5), prior to ending Spanish hopes by overcoming Alvaro Robles, the no.5 seed (11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 11-5).

A surprise Men’s Singles semi-finalist; in fact he was one of four and not the only Hong Kong player in form. In the third round Ng Pak Nam beat Korea’s Cho Seungmin, the no.3 seed (11-3, 11-4, 13-11, 11-6), prior to overcoming Iran’s Nima Alamiyan, the no.9 seed (11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9) to seal his semi-final place.

Defeat for Nima Alamiyan, at the quarter-final stage there was also defeat for elder brother, Noshad Alamiyan; the no.4 seed, he was beaten by India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.9 seed (7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6).

Casualties but the biggest was Austria’s Robert Gardos; the top seed in the Men’s Singles event, at the quarter-final stage he was beaten by Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura (11-7, 11-3, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10).

At the semi-final stage Kazuhiro Yoshimura meets Ng Pak Nam; Sathiyan Gnanasekaran opposes Lam Siu Hang.

Surprise semi-finalist in the Men’s Singles event, it was the same in the Women’s Singles competition. The respective top two seeds, Japan’s Hina Hayata and Korea’s Jeon Jihee duly reserved semi-final places but there were defeats for Japan’s Yui Hamamoto and Korea’s Yang Haeun.

Yui Hamamoto, the no.3 seed, was beaten at the quarter-final stage by colleague Saki Shibata, the no.5 seed (11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-1); one round earlier Yang Haeun, the no.4 seed, had experienced defeat at the hands of Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, the no.9 seed (7-11, 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3). Pertinently, Bernadette Szocs maintained her form; at the quarter-final stage she accounted for Korean qualifier Ji Eunchae (11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5).

In the penultimate round, Hina Hayata plays Bernadette Szocs, Saki Shibata confront Jeon Jihe.

Title hopes very much alive for Japan; in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event they already have gold in their bank. In the final Satsuki Odo, only 13 years old, beat Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatyh (11-5, 11-3, 11-9) to claim her first such international title.

Challenge Series 2017 Spanish Open Lam Sui Hang

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Day 2 - 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open