14 Mar 2018

Places in the main draw of the Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Polish Open at stake, with only first place keeping hopes of progress alive; there were notable casualties as the group stage of play came to a close in the qualification tournament on Wednesday 14th March.

No less than nine prominent names, who had started proceedings as the top ranked player in their respective groups, experienced defeats. They lost to players who remained unbeaten to secure first places.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Luxembourg’s Eric Glod, Brazil’s Cazuo Matsumoto, Belgium’s Lauric Jean all entered the second day unbeaten. It was the same for Romania’s Alexandru Cazacu, Ukraine’s Viktor Yefimov, Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Spain’s Carlos Franco.

Likewise, Koyo Kanamitsu had remained unbeaten on the opening day whilst for Ewout Oostwouder of the Netherlands, he needed to end his group phase itinerary with a resounding win. The previous day he had lost to Japan’s Hibiki Tazoe (11-13, 12-10, 11-3, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9).

All occupied the highest ranked position in their respective groups.

In full distance seven games duels, Eric Glod was beaten by Japan’s Haruki Miyamoto (11-9, 14-12, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8), Cazuo Matsumoto lost to the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Bajger (11-9, 4-11, 11-6, 10-12, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10); similarly in six games, Lauric Jean suffered at the hands of Japan’s Kohei Sambe (11-6, 11-13, 6-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-7).

Meanwhile, in yet more seven games duels, Sweden’s Harald Andersson proved the nemesis of Alexandru Cazacu (11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 19-17, 9-11, 11-9), Turkey’s Abdullah Yigenler beat Viktor Yefimov (8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 12-10, 11-8). Likewise in hard fought contests, Poland’s Robert Floras defeated Shunsuke Togami (11-2, 11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6), Germany’s Qiu Dang overcame Carlos Franco (11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-3) and Yaroslav Zhmudenko ended the hopes of Ewout Oostwouder (11-8, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8).

Impressive from Yaroslav Zhmudenko, it was the same from Germany’s Kilian Ort, he accounted for Japan’s Koyo Kanamitsu (7-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-9, 11-8).

Notable performances and one player in particular caught the eye, Russia’s Viacheslav Burov. After on the opening day beating Poland’s Kamil Dziadek in five games (13-11, 11-5, 2-11, 11-6, 11-8), he concluded his group stage engagements with victory over Japan’s Yuta Tanaka (11-5, 6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6)

“I am very tired after the match with Yuta Tanaka. Not just the game itself. I’m a little sick. Fortunately, my coach, Zbigniew Leszczynski, helped me tactically. The four-one result may say that it was an easy win but every match against a Japanese player is difficult. They are very strong and fast. My service was crucial in this victory. In addition, my backhand was at a good level and therefore I can enjoy the victory and progress.” Viacheslav Burov

Players finishing in first places in groups no.1 to no.12 advanced directly to the main draw; those in top positions in groups no.1 to no.42 compete in a preliminary round; winners of the preliminary round matches gain first round proper places.

Challenge Series 2018 Polish Open Shunsuke Togami Koyo Kanamitsu Cazuo Matsumoto Alexandru Cazacu Viktor Yefimov Lauric Jean Ewout Oostwouder Eric Glod Carlos Franco

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