15 Mar 2018

Successful last year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in France, when winning the Cadet Boys’ Doubles title in partnership with compatriot Maciej Kubik, the host nation’s Samuel Kulczycki was the player to attract the attention in the opening round of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Series Polish Open in Spala.

On the morning of Thursday 15th March, he beat Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko (11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8) in a contest between two of Europe’s most aspiring young talents; both are only 15 years old.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Similar to Samuel Kulczycki, Vladimir Sidorenko had been required to compete in the qualification phase but with the absence of Hong Kong’s Ng Pak Nam, originally, the no.2 seed, in effect the Russian occupied the no.16 seeded position in the main draw.

An opening round win against expectations for Samuel Kulczycki; it was the same for Slovakia’s Tibor Spanik, Italy’s Chen Shuainan and Frenchman Rémi Menand, all players who had been required to compete in the qualification event.

Tibor Spanik, who had secured first place in his initial phase group on points ratio, caused the biggest upset of the round; furthermore, he caused the host nation pain by beating Patryk Zatowka (11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7). He was closely followed by Chen Shuainan; he overcame Turkey’s Ibrahim Gündüz, the no.7 seed (11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8).

Impressive performances but the most impressive was that achieved by Rémi Menand; he ended the hopes of Russia’s Ivan Nikulin, the no.10 seed, in three straight games (12-10, 11-7, 11-7).

Casualties must not amongst the top four names in the opening round of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event. Korea’s Lim Jonghoon, the top seed, beat Slovenia’s Peter Hribar (11-8, 11-4, 11-8), Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the no.2 seed, overcame Poand’s Maciej Kubik (11-5, 9-11, 11-3, 11-6). Similarly, Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus, the no.3 seed, accounted for Japan’s Haruki Miyamoto (11-4, 12-14, 11-5, 11-8), the latter’s colleague Masaki Takami, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes of Russia’s Artur Abusev (11-8, 11-6, 11-1).

Meanwhile, Marek Badowski, the no.5 seed, added to Polish joy by beating Belgium’s Laurens Devos (11-4, 11-7, 13-11); conversely for the host nation, Japan’s Shunsuke Togami, the no.8 seed, halted the progress of Jan Zandecki (11-3, 11-9, 11-9).

The second round and quarter-finals of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event will be played later in the day.

Challenge Series 2018 Polish Open Samuel Kulczycki

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