03 Apr 2018

Three young French stars enjoyed a strong end to the Under 21 Men's Singles qualification process for the 2018 ITTF Challenge Slovenia Open after Leo De Nodrest, Lilian Bardet and Remi Menand earning Preliminary Round victories on Tuesday 3rd April to seal their places in the main event in Otocec.

by Simon Daish

Leo De Nodrest won by the most convincing manner in the Preliminary Round, defeating Italian opponent Antonino Amato in straight games to reach the main draw (11-7, 11-7, 11-8).

Two further French competitors also negotiated the final stage of qualifying with victories for Lilian Bardet and Remi Menand: Trailing by a one game deficit but Lilian Bardet wasn’t fazed by the challenge ahead, recovering to beat Spain’s Carlos Caballero across four games (5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-2) while a three games to one victory over Montenegro’s Filip Radovic (11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5) saw Remi Menand progress.

Joining the three Preliminary Round victors in the main event are the winners of groups 1 through to 13, including the host nation’s very own Erik Paulin; he accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Huang Chien-Tu in dramatic fashion (6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9) to secure top spot in Group 2.

Hungarian contestant Sebestyen Kovacs is also through to the Round of 32 following a positive outing in his final group stage encounter with Thibaut Darcis (11-4, 3-11, 13-11, 11-9).

Regina Kim was one of nine group winners to progress from the Under 21 Women’s Singles qualification group stage with the Uzbekistan player prevailing against Group 4 favourite Dragana Vignjevic (9-11, 11-8, 14-12, 8-11, 11-7) while Luxembourg’s Sarah Meyer came out on top against Swiss opponent Celine Reust (11-9, 11-4, 12-10) to finish at the summit of Group 5.

Korea’s Yoon Hyobin and Kim Youjin successfully secured first position in their respective groups but fellow compatriot Sim Hyunju was restricted to the runner up spot in Group 2 following a five games loss against Hong Kong’s Liu Qi (13-11, 4-11, 4-11, 11-8, 12-10).

Challenge Series 2018 Slovenia Open Leo de Nodrest Regina Kim Sim Hyunju Sebestyen Kovacs Erik Paulin

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