31 Mar 2018

Korea’s Cho Seungmin, the top seed, booked his place in the final of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the 20!8 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Guadalajara as his status predicted, following success on the morning of Saturday 31st March; however, just as the previous day it was Germany’s Tobias Hippler who attracted the attention.

He continued his quite outstanding run of form to progress to the title deciding contest.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The previous day in the second round, Tobias Hippler had been the player to cause the biggest upset; the no.12 seed, he accounted for Austria’s Thomas Grininger, the no.8 seed; he prevailed in a full distance five games contest (11-5, 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7).

One day later he continued to upset the pecking order and once again became embroiled in a five game contest; at the quarter-final stage of proceedings, he emerged successful in an engagement that was even closer than that of the previous day.

He accounted for Japan’s Yuki Matsuyama, the no.3 seed and winner last year at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Croatia Open when he beat Russia’s Sadi Ismailov in the final; Tobias Hippler succeeded by the very narrowest of decisions (9-11, 11-3, 16-14, 8-11, 14-12).

Success by the hair’s breadth, in the penultimate round life was less dramatic but again he ended the hopes of a higher ranked player; in fact an even higher ranked player than Yuki Matsuyama. He beat Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus in four games (12-10, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8).

Meanwhile, by comparison the progress in the later rounds for Cho Seungmin was less fraught. After recording a straight games win over Sweden’s Simon Soderlund, the no.7 seed (11-1, 11-4, 11-3), he ended the progress of colleague and qualifier, An Jaehyun in four games (7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9).

Once again for An Jaehyun it was semi-final sadness; the previous week at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open in Bremen, he had lost to Sweden’s Truls Moregard in the penultimate round (9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6).

The final of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event is scheduled for later in the day.

Challenge Series 2018 Spanish Open Cho Seungmin Tobias Hippler

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