08 Sep 2018

Staged in a country, in geographical size one of the smallest in the world, the titles on offer at the 2018 Luxembourg Open were claimed by players representing, in similar terms, two of the smallest national associations affiliated to the International Table Tennis Federation.

Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador won the Men’s Singles event, the Women’s Singles title was secured by Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Organised throughout on a progressive knock-out basis, at the final hurdle Brian Afanador, the no.2 seed, accounted for Sweden’s Simon Soderlund, the no.8 seed. He won in five games (11-9, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10) to secure the first such title of his career at an open international tournament.

“I feel so happy. Hard work always pays off. I would like to thank all the people who made this happen for me; especially the Puerto Rican Table Tennis Federation.” Brian Afanador

A first for Brian Afanador, for Yang Xiaoxin, it was also a milestone win. She becomes the first player to have won in the Grand Duchy on more than one occasion; she succeeded four years ago. Furthermore, she adds to her list of titles. In the same year as she won in Luxembourg, she also emerged successful in Croatia, before two years later in 2016 reserving the top step of the podium in the Czech Republic.

At the final hurdle, the no.3 seed, she accounted for a player from the biggest land mass of all. She beat Russia’s Anna Blazhko, the no.29 seed (11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6).

Meanwhile, in the Men’s Singles event, third place finished in the hands of Frenchman Paul Lavergne; he overcame colleague Mathieu de Santillan (13-15, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10) and Luxembourg’s Irfan Cekic (7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3, 11-13, 11-7) to secure a well-merited conclusion to his visit.

Similarly in the Women’s Singles event, Daria Shadrina, like Anna Blazhko, also from Russia, reserved third place. On the concluding day of action she accounted for Sweden’s Filippa Bergand (9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-6) and Laura Pfeffer of France (7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 1-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9).

Overall, 42 men and 40 women competed in the four day tournament.

2018 Luxembourg Open: Results – Men’s Singles (Saturday 8th September)

2018 Luxembourg Open: Results – Women’s Singles (Saturday 8th September)

2018 Luxembourg Open: Roll of Honour

2018 Luxembourg Open: Entries – Men

2018 Luxembourg Open: Entries – Women

2018 Luxembourg Open Brian Afanador Yang Xiaoxin