08 Sep 2018

Hopes at the start of the penultimate day of action, Friday 7th September, at the 2018 Luxembourg Open that a player from the host country would stand proudly on the top step of the podium when play concluded were high; at the close of play those aspirations will have to wait for another year.

Irfan Cekic and Sarah de Nutte both experienced semi-final defeats.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The defeat experienced by Irfan Cekic in the Men’s Singles event was no surprise; no current world ranking, he had excelled all expectations to reach the semi-final stage. He was beaten by Sweden’s Simon Soderlund, the no.8 seed, in five games (11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10).

Somewhat conversely, the defeat experienced by Sarah de Nutte was contrary to status; she commenced matters as the top seed, defeat at the hands of Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin, the no.3 seed, in five games was the outcome (11-3, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7). However, I would suggest the result was no great upset. Yang Xiaoxin is the owner of two ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles titles; she won in 2014 in Croatia and two years later in the Czech Republic.

Places in the final booked; in the title deciding contests, Simon Soderlund faces Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, the no.2 seed, Yang Xiaoxin opposes Russia’s Anna Blazhko, the no.29 seed. In the counterpart semi-final contests, Brian Afanador accounted for Frenchman, Paul Lavergne, the no.24 seed (11-8, 13-11, 7-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-8); Anna Blazhko overcame colleague, Daria Shadrina, the no.27 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4).

The winners to be decided, also following the progressive knock-out, the lower positions have to be determined, third place is now the goal for the losing semi-finalists.

In the Men’s Singles event Paul Lavergne faces colleague Mathieu de Santillan, the winner confronting either Irfan Cekic or Switzerland’s Lionel Weber, the top seed. Similarly, in the Women’s Singles competition, Daria Shadrina opposes Sweden’s Filippa Bergand; Sarah de Nutte confronts Laura Pfeffer of France.

Play concludes on Saturday 8th September.
2018 Luxembourg Open: Entries – Men

2018 Luxembourg Open: Entries – Women

2018 Luxembourg Open: Results – Men’s Singles (Friday 7th September)

2018 Luxembourg Open: Results – Women’s Singles (Friday 7th September)

2018 Luxembourg Open: Roll of Honour – Past Champions

2018 Luxembourg Open Brian Afanador Sarah De Nutte Yang Xiaoxin Simon Soderlund Daria Shadrina Anna Blazhko Paul Lavergne Irfan Cekic