07 Sep 2018

Crucial to Puerto Rican success earlier in the year in Barranquilla at the Central American and Caribbean Games, on Thursday 6th September, Brian Afanador reserved his place in the semi-final round of the Men’s Singles event at the 2018 Luxembourg Open

The no.2 seed, it was progress as expected in an event organised on a progressive knock-out formula; however, amongst the leading names he was very much alone.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The most unexpected name to book a last four place was that of the host country’s Irfan Cekic; no current world ranking, he exceeded all expectations.

He accounted for England’s Samuel Maybey, the no.25 seed (11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 15-13, 11-6) and India’s Mudit Dani, the no.10 seed (11-4, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6) to make the quite ideal start. Increasingly confident, he overcame Andrei Labanau of Belarus, likewise a player with no current global status (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10), to reserve his place in the quarter-finals where he continued his outstanding form. He caused the biggest upset of the day, he overcame Switzerland’s Lionel Weber, the top seed (13-11, 11-7, 14-12, 12-10, 6-11, 11-6).

Success against the odds for Irfan Cekic; in the Men’s Singles event, it was the same for both Paul Lavergne and Simon Soderlund.

Paul Lavergne, the no.24 seed, accounted for Sweden’s Jonathan Thimion (10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5), before ousting Luxembourg’s Eric Glod (8-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9) and Vadim Yarashenka of Belarus (11-6, 11-2, 11-9, 11-8) to reserve his place in the penultimate round. Neither Jonathan Thimion nor Vadim Yarashenka possess a current world ranking; Eric Glod was the no.3 seed.

Upsets after upsets; for Simon Soderlund, the no.8 seed, he duly negotiated his way to the quarter-final stage as anticipated, before likewise, he upset the order of merit; he overcame the host country’s Luka Mladenovic, the no.4 seed (7-11, 10-12, 11-0, 11-3, 11-3, 11-7) to secure his semi-final place.

Surprise semi-finalists, the only name to progress as status advised was Brian Afanador; a last eight place duly reserved, he beat Gleb Shamruk of Belarus, the no.6 seed (11-9, 11-9, 13-11, 13-11) to keep his title hopes very much alive.

At the semi-final stage Irfan Cekic meets Simon Soderlund, Paul Lavergne confronts Brian Afanador; play concludes on Saturday 8th September.

2018 Luxembourg Open: Entries – Men

2018 Luxembourg Open: Entries – Women

2018 Luxembourg Open: Results – Men’s Singles (Thursday 6th September)

2018 Luxembourg Open: Results – Women’s Singles (Thursday 6th September)

2018 Luxembourg Open: Roll of Honour – Past Champions

2018 Luxembourg Open Brian Afanador Simon Soderlund Paul Lavergne Irfan Cekic