16 Mar 2018

Shock eliminations took the spotlight on the opening day of the 2018 ITTF Challenge Polish Open as seeded competitors experienced surprise defeats throughout the course of the day in Spala, especially in the Men’s Singles tournament with two of Korea Republic’s big hitters suffering early exits on Thursday 15th March.

by Simon Daish

Korean Stars Stunned

The first major upset in the Men’s Singles draw came courtesy of Ukraine’s Yaroslav Zhmudenko, achieving a fantastic six games victory over Korean third seed Jeong Sangeun in the Round of 64 (8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 11-6).

One round later Korea Republic suffered an even greater loss as Lee Sangsu exited the competition; facing Czech opponent Pavel Sirucek in the last 32 the top seed was beaten in straight games (11-6, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9), seriously denting Korea’s title ambitions in the process.

Seeded players representing Hong Kong also endured a difficult day at the office with Ho Kwan Kit, fifth, and Jiang Tianyi, sixth, both missing out at the Round of 32 stage. Lam Siu Hang was the sole contestant from Hong Kong to move through to the last 16 following a comeback win against Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa (7-11, 8-11, 10-12, 11-4, 12-10, 11-5, 12-10).

Amalraj Anthony has the sole responsibility of carrying India’s hopes in the Round of 16 after he safely negotiated the opening two rounds of Men’s Singles action while the likes of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sharath Kamal Achanta fell to unexpected defeats on day one.

Seeds Crash Out

The upsets continued over in the Women’s Singles draw: Dina Meshref, seeded sixth, was eliminated at the first hurdle as Chinese Taipei qualifier Tsui Pao-Wen came out on top against the Egyptian across five games (9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3, 13-11) before earning a win over Romania’s Andreea Dragoman (11-7, 11-5, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7) to book her place in the Round of 16.

Home favourite Natalia Partyka also exited in her opening fixture of the competition, losing out to Slovak opponent Barbora Balazova (12-10, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9, 4-11, 11-6) and the host nation’s participation ended one round later with the departure of Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc.

Natalia Partyka eliminated at first hurdle in Spala (Photo: Bogdan Pasek)

Alina Nikitchanka caused a major upset in her opening round contest after the unseeded Belarusian competitor ousted Russia’s Polina Mikhailova from the event (3-11, 12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 13-11). There was also an  impressive performance from Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska, who claimed back-to-back victories over 10th seed Paulina Vega (11-6, 11-6, 11-3, 15-13) and Audrey Zarif (11-7, 11-6, 11-1, 12-10).

End of the road, Polish hopes fade

Disappointment for the host nation in the two singles competitions and Polish partnerships were also out of luck in the doubles events.

The pairing of Artur Grela and Samuel Kulczycki made a promising start to their first round Men’s Doubles match against Amalraj Anthony and Sanil Shetty but ultimately lost out to the Indian duo (5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5). Poland’s representation in the Women’s Doubles tournament was also brought to a close in the Round of 16 as Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc and Natalia Partyka exited to Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata of Japan (11-2, 11-2, 7-11, 11-8).

Latest Results

Challenge Series 2018 Polish Open Lee Sangsu Natalia Partyka Ho Kwan Kit Jeong Sangeun Margaryta Pesotska Amalraj Anthony Alina Nikitchanka Tsui Pao-Wen

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