06 Apr 2018

Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting, the top seed, duly reserved his place in the semi-finals of the Men’s Singles event at the 2018 Slovenia Open in Otocec on Thursday 5th April; he endorsed his status.

However, amongst the leading names he was the only one to reach the last four, Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa alongside the Slovakian duo of Lubomir Pistej and Wang Yang were not expected to be present on the concluding day of action.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Liao Cheng-Ting booked his semi-final place by overcoming Brazil’s Eric Jouti, the no.12 seed (10-12, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8) on what did not prove the best of rounds for the South American country. In the opposite half of the draw, the defensive skills of Wang Yang, the no.17 seed, proved too secure for Gustavo Tsuboi, the no.2 seed (14-12, 10-12, 8-11, 11-3, 12-10, 12-14, 11-1).

Impressive from Wang Yang, it was the same from colleague, Lubomir Pistej, the no.14 seed, he secured his semi-final place courtesy of success in opposition to Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Hung-Chieh, the no.26 seed (11-6, 11-8, 13-11, 11-8); Chiang Hung-Chieh being very much the man in form. The previous day in the second round he had beaten Hong Kong’s Ng Pak Nam, the no.4 seed (11-7, 4-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9).

A man in form, Mizuki Oikawa continued to be a man in form; having the previous day beaten Spain’s Alvaro Robles, the no.3 seed (11-9, 5-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5).

At the semi-final stage Liao Cheng-Ting meets Mizuki Oikawa, Lubomir Pistej faces Wang Yang.

Three surprise names in the Men’s Singles penultimate round; in the counterpart Women’s Singles competition, there was just one, that of Minami Ando in an event dominated by Japan. At the quarter-final round Minami Ando beat colleague 13 year old Satsuki Odo (11-5, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4), the third round winner over Hitomi Sato, the top seed and also from Japan (4-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-9, 2-11, 3-11, 11-9).

In all Japanese semi-finals, Minami Ando meets Sakura Mori, Honoka Hashimoto confronts Miyu Kato.

Hard fought contests, at the quarter-final stage Minami Ando, the no.10 seed, beat Miyu Nagasaki, the no.30 seed (11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 4-11, 3-11, 11-3), whilst Honoka Hashimoto, the no.4 seed, accounted for Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.8 seed and only player not from Japan to reach the last four.

Honoka Hashimoto emerged successful in five games (10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8). In the one remaining quarter-final, Miyu Kato, the no.2 seed, ended the hopes of Maki Shiomi, the no.7 seed (8-11, 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-6).

Meanwhile, in the Men’s Doubles event, Eric Jouti and Gustavo Tsuboi meet Poland’s Marek Badowski and Patryk Zatowka in the final.

Qualifiers, the Brazilians maintained their form of the previous day when they had beaten top seeds, Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi (11-8, 11-6, 12-10). They booked their place in the final by overcoming Austria’s Alexander Chan and Simon Pfeffer (9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5).

Impressive from Eric Jouti and Gustavo Tsuboi; at the semi-final stage it the same from Marek Badowski and Patryk Zatowka; they accounted for Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang and Ng Pak Nam, the no.2 seeds (11-3, 11-8, 11-8).

Progress for Brazil and Poland; in the Women’s Doubles final, as in the Women’s Singles, Japan is very much to the fore.

Miyu Kato and Miyu Nagasaki meet Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam and Ng Wing Nam in the final; in the penultimate round Miyu Kato and Miyu Nagasaki accounted for colleagues and top seeds, Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato (12-10, 7-11, 15-13, 11-9). Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.2 seeds, ended the hopes of Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Wen and Li Yu-Jhun (11-7, 11-4, 11-5).

Titles to be decided, on the penultimate day of play two titles were decided. Hungary’s Bence Majoros and Japan’s Saki Shibata won the respective Under 21 Men’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles titles.

Impressively, at the final hurdle Bence Majoros beat Romania’s Cristian Pletea (11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9); Saki Shibata overcame Miyu Nagasaki (11-7, 11-3, 11-9). Notably for Saki Shibata it was her third such title in succession; earlier she had won on the ITTF World Tour in Germany and on the ITTF Challenge Series in Spain.

Challenge Series 2018 Slovenia Open Liao Cheng-Ting Mizuki Oikawa Lubomir Pistej Wang Yang

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