02 Apr 2018

Play is officially underway in Otocec with Monday 2nd April marking the opening of the two-day qualification tournament which precedes the 2018 ITTF Challenge Slovenia Open and on the whole it was a day of mixed emotions for players representing the host nation in the two senior singles events.

by Simon Daish

Tilen Cvetko was one of the victorious Slovenians on display in qualifying and ultimately came away with a first position finish in his Men’s Singles group.

Opening his account with a positive outing against Welsh opponent Callum Evans (11-7, 11-1, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-4), Tilen Cvetko was then awarded a win against Germany’s Patrick Baum to guarantee his place at the summit of Group 27.

Another opening day success story for the host nation came in Group 15: Slovenian Uros Slatinsek proved too strong for Tibor Spanik, defeating the Slovak Republic competitor across six games (11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5) and will fight it out with Luxembourg’s Luka Mladenovic for top spot in the final group encounter.

However, it was a disappointing day for Jan Zibrat, suffering a four games to two loss in his opening group stage fixture with Japan’s Hibiki Tazoe (8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9), who ended the day as Group 23 winner.

There was just the one win for Slovenia on day one of the Women’s Singles qualifying group stage, arriving courtesy of Aleksandra Vovk.

Starting her campaign on the back-foot with a straight games defeat against Romania’s Andreea Dragoman (11-7, 11-8, 11-4, 11-2), but Aleksandra Vovk did prove successful over India’s Krittwika Roy in the evening session of play (13-11, 10-12, 9-11, 14-12, 11-4, 11-8).

Katarina Strazar, Lea Paulin, Stasa Matis, Gaja Mavri, Katja Gutnik, Lara Opeka and Ursska Chokelj all endured opening day defeats in Otocec.

Challenge Series 2018 Slovenia Open Aleksandra Vovk Uros Slatinsek Tilen Cvetko

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