by Ian Marshall, Editor
Listed at no.214 on the current Men’s World Rankings, Qiu Dang accounted for Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej, named at no.59 (7-11, 5-11, 11-6, 14-12, 15-13, 11-3) to cause a major upset, conclude the group unbeaten and in first place.
Similarly, Andrea Landrieu caused a surprise. He beat Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre (11-6, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10) to maintain his unbeaten record and thus reserve top spot; presently in the global order Andrea Landrieu appears at no.143, Marcelo Aguirre at no.106.
Success for Andrea Landrieu but it was the defeat of his colleague, Antoine Hachard that attracted the attention; he was beaten by Mihai Bobocica in five games (12-10, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9). Accepted there is a gap in ranking; Mihai Bobocica is listed at no.91, Antoine Hachard at no.180 but the Frenchman is a player in form. Just three days earlier he had contested the Men’s Singles final at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open.
“It was a very tough match. I was leading two-nil and 9-6 and lost the game. I managed to win the fourth game quite easily; the final game went point by point. I was a bit lucky to win 11-9. I think that he had an advantage playing a long tournament last week in Nigeria because for me the Bulgaria Open is the first competition of this season. I was a bit afraid that I would need more time to come in to the competition but today it was very fast and I started very well. It was important to win the first game. I am really happy that I managed to come very fast in to the tournament. I will just go on and play as well as possible and hope to reach the main draw next.” Mihai Bobocica
Defeat for one player who had been on duty last week in Lagos, for another Finland’s Benedek Olah, who had suffered a seven games quarter-final reverse at the hands of Thailand’s Supanut Wisamthangkoon, it was success. In all Nordic group which originally included Denmark’s Michael Maze who had to withdraw injured, Benedek Olah beat Sweden’s Victor Brodd (11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5) to reserve first place.
“As I expected, it was a very difficult match against Viktor Brodd. The stakes were high in this match. Previously I have lost against him more often than won, so I am very happy to win the match and go through the group. Last year I was seeded and played in the main draw of this tournament. I hope to get a good win from this tournament, because lately I have been losing many tight matches in the seventh game. We had a very interesting qualification group here; there was one Finn, one Swede and one Dane to make it an all-Nordic group. Sadly, I didn’t get to play against Michael Maze after his withdrawal yesterday but I am delighted to have made my way to the preliminary round. The goal is to go as far in the tournament as possible, if I can get to the last 16, I will be really happy.” Benedek Olah
On the current Men’s World Ranking, Benedek Olah is listed at no.93, Viktor Brodd at no.195.