by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
At the final hurdle Cédric Meissner, the no.3 seed, accounted for the host nation’s Jeremy Hazin, the no.2 seed (9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3), having earlier in the day recorded a series of impressive wins.
He beat Costa Rica’s Alfredo Sanchez, the no.11 seed (11-8, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8), followed by Jordan’s Khaled Khader, the no.7 seed, in what was to prove his toughest examination en route to the top prize. He needed six games to secure victory (10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-3). A penultimate round place booked, he reserved his place in the final by overcoming Poland’s Artur Grela, the top seed (11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9).
“The first two matches, it was not so good but then in the semi-final I beat Grela four-one; then I played Jeremy. I know him well. There will be many good players in Buenos Aires but I will do my best. We will see.” Cédric Meissner
In the opposite half of the draw, on his journey to the final, Jeremy Hazin had beaten Switzerland’s Dorian Girod, the no.8 seed (11-2, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9) and Hong Kong’s Cheng Pak Hei, the no.6 seed (11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8), a young man in form. At the quarter-final stage he had ousted Hungary’s Csaba Andras, the no.4 seed (11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 17-15, 11-9).
Success without ever being extended the full seven games distance; it was the same for Franziska Schreiner.
The no.2 seed, she beat Hungary’s Fanni Harasztovich, the no.6 seed (11-4, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9), before accounting for Turkey’s Ozge Yilmaz, the no.10 seed (11-2, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9) to reserve her place in the final, where the good form continued. She overcome the Czech Republic’s Zdena Blaskova, the top seed (11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8) secure a Buenos Aires welcome, in a contest where she lost the first six points of the sixth game.
“Earlier this week I had the Canadian Open final, I lost and yesterday I lost; now finally I won. Down 6-0 in the last game I thought that everything is possible. I was once down 2-9 and I won. I thought I should just try. I changed service and I never stopped believing.” Franziska Schreiner
Notably, Ozge Yilmaz was very much a player in form; in the round of the last eight she had beaten Anna Wegrzyn, the no.3 seed and the player who two days earlier had won the Junior Girls’ Singles title at the 2018 Canadian Junior and Cadet Open.
Runners up spot for Zdena Blaskova, it was very nearly a quarter-final exit. She needed the full seven games to beat Chile’s spirited Valentina Rios, the no.8 seed (8-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-1, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8), prior to reserving her place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to Slovenia’s Alexandra Vovk, the no.5 seed (11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-1, 11-3).
One round earlier Alexandra Vovk had ended the hopes of Finland’s Annika Lundström, the no.5 seed (12-10, 7-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7).
Just one more Road to Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games qualification tournament remains; the destination is Oceania, Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.
The tournament will be held on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th June.
Continental Tournaments – Qualifiers (as on Sunday 17th December)
Africa: Youssef Abdel Aziz (Egypt), Nathael Hamdoun (Tunisia)
Asia: Tomokazu Harimoto (Japan), Lin Yun-Ju (Chinese Taipei), Wang Chuqin (China), Cho Daeseong (Korea)
Europe: Ioannis Sgouropoulos (Greece), Vladimir Sidorenko (Russia), Medardas Stankievicius (Lithuania), Vladislav Urdu (Moldova)
Latin America: Nicolas Burgos (Chile), Guillerme Teodoro (Brazil)
North America: Kanak Jha (United States)
Oceania: Nathan Xu (New Zealand)
Africa: Esther Oribamise (Nigeria), Marwa Alhodaby (Egypt)
Asia: Miu Hirano (Japan), Sun Yingsha (China), Jinnipa Sawettabut (Thailand), Su Pei-Ling (Chinese Taipei)
Europe: Lucie Gauthier (France), Mariia Tailakova (Russia), Ning Jing (Azerbaijan), Nadezhda Bogdanova (Belarus)
Latin America: Adriana Diaz (Puerto Rico), Bruna Takahashi (Brazil)
North America: Amy Wang (United States)
Oceania: Vong Hui Ling (New Zealand)
Road to Buenos Series (as on Friday 1st June)
Europe: Bastian Rembert (France), Cristian Pletea (Romania)
Africa: Yu Khinhang (Azerbaijan), Amin Ahmadian (Iran)
Latin America: Matteo Mutti (Italy), Yanapong Panagitgun (Thailand)
Asia: Javen Choong (Malaysia), Manav Vikash Thakkar (India)
North America: Kim Song Gun (DPR Korea), Cédric Meissner (Germany)
Europe: Andreea Dragoman (Romania), Lee Ka Yee (Hong Kong)
Africa: Tatiana Kukulkova (Slovakia), Sabina Surjan (Serbia)
Latin America: Jamila Laurenti (Italy), Goi Rui Xuan (Singapore)
Asia: Choi Haeeun (Korea Republic), Andrea Pavlovic (Croatia)
North America: Pyon Song Gyong (DPR Korea), Franziska Schreiner (Germany)