14 Mar 2018

Safely through the preliminary phase but a first round exit when facing Korea’s Kwak Yubin in the opening round of proceedings at the 2017 World Junior Championships some four months ago in Riva del Garda; Artur Grela emerged the host nation’s hero on the first day of play, Tuesday 13th March, in the qualification tournament for places in the 2018 ITTF Challenge Polish Open in Spala.

He caused the biggest upset and in so doing emerged one of only two players at the end of the first day of play, assured of a place in the main draw.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

The 17 year old, presently listed at no.28 on the Under 18 Boys’ World Ranking but on the Men’s World Rankings at a lowly no.1049; after opening his account by beating Spain’s Endika Diez (12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 11-1, 11-9, 11-8), he overcame Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, the 2013 Latin American Champion and tenth highest rated player in the qualification tournament (11-5, 11-9, 2-11, 11-8, 4-11, 12-10).

Presently Endika Diez is listed at no.551 on the Men’s World Rankings, Marcelo Aguirre at no.130.

Competing in group no.10, a place in the main draw is secure; players finishing in first positions in groups no.1 to no.12 advance directly the first round proper; winners of groups no.13 to no.42 must compete in a preliminary round.

Progress guaranteed for Artur Grela, it is the same for Frenchman, Stéphane Ouaiche but in rather different circumstances; competing in group no.8, he beat Austria’s Thomas Grininger in his opening contest (12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10), before gaining a walk-over when due to face Poland’s Daniel Gorak. Currently on the Men’s World Rankings, Stéphane Ouaiche stands at no.1014, Thomas Grininger is at no.584.

Otherwise for the leading names on qualification tournament duty it was opening day success but there were close calls; the top two names in particular enduring tense moments. Chinese Taipei’s Hung Tzu-Hsiang needed the full seven games to beat Denmark’s Andras Dilling (9-11, 5-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6); similarly Chile’s Felipe Olivares was stretched to the limit by Slovakia’s Adam Brat (3-11, 11-3, 13-15, , 11-1, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8).

Also, in a likewise manner there was a close call for the Czech Republic’s Tomas Tregler, the fifth highest rated on initial phase action. He needed seven games to overcome Italy’s Chen Shuainan (10-12, 4-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10).

Close calls but not for the other leading names required to play on the opening day of action. Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali beat Belgium’s Igor Kosolosky (14-12, 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5), the latter’s colleague, Robin Devos accounted for Norway’s Borgar Haug (11-5, 11-1, 11-4, 11-7). Similarly, Austria’s Andreas Levenko defeated Norway’s Adrian Wetzel (6-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-5, 11-4), Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus overcame the Czech Republic’s Jiri Martinko (7-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-3, 11-9).

Play in the qualification tournament concludes on Wednesday 14th March.

Challenge Series 2018 Polish Open Artur Grela

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