11 Apr 2018

Surprise wins on the opening day of play, Tuesday 19th April, in the Men’s Singles qualification tournament that precedes the 2018 ITTF Challenge Croatian Open in Zagreb but will the efforts eventually prove in vain?

Germany’s Nils Hohmeier, Russia’s Vildan Gasiev, Sweden’s Simon Soderlund and Slovenia’s Tom Sfiligoj, all started the day as the lowest rated players in their initial stage groups, in their second match of their schedule, all beat the highest listed, the problem is they lost their opening exchange. It is a situation that also applies to Russia Pavel Khripunenko.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Nils Hohmeier was the player to cause the biggest upset, he beat Italy’s Marco Rech-Daldosso (11-5, 8-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7), having earlier lost to Israel’s Michael Tauber (12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 16-14, 11-9).

It was very much the same scenario for Russia’s Vildan Gadiev, he lost to Brazil’s Carlos Ishida (6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-9), before returning to the table to beat Turkey’s Ibrahim Gündüz (9-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-9, 11-8). Likewise Simon Soderlund suffered defeat at the hands of Germany’s Denis Klein (11-6, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9), before beating Thailand’s Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon (11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 12-10).

Defeat then success; it was no different for Tom Sfiligoj and Pavel Khripunenko; Tom Sfiligoj lost to Austria’s Alexander Chen (11-7, 11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6) then later returned to the action to beat Luxembourg’s Luka Mladenovic (7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6). In a similar vein Pavel Khripunenko beat Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tai-Wei 11-6, 21-19, 11-8, 11-8), having in his opening contest lost to Spain’s Carlos Franco (11-4, 11-2, 11-7, 11-8).

Problems for noteworthy names; however, other than for Marco Rech Daldosso it was a successful start in the quest for a main draw place for leading names. Japan’s Kenji Matsudaira, Frenchman Alexandre Robinot and Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro all ended the opening day without defeat, as did Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Hubng-Chieh, Italy’s Mihai Bobocica, Uzbekistan’s Zokhis Kenjaev and Spain’s Jesus Cantero.

Players finishing in first positins in groups no.1 to no.16 advance to the main draw; first places in groups no.17 to no.48 progress to a preliminary round; winners of the preliminary round matches gain main draw places.

The qualification tournament concludes on Wednesday 11th April.

2018 Croatia Open Nils Hohmeier

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