19 Oct 2018

Bronze medallist at the recent Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Kanak Jha emerged the player to cause the biggest upset, as the initial phase of proceedings at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF Men’s World Cup came to a close on the afternoon of Friday 19th October in the French capital city of Paris.

The no.18 seed, he beat Quadri Aruna, the no.14 seed and winner earlier this year on home soil at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, in six games (11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

A win of note and a milestone win; the success very much reflects the coming of age of the 18 year old, who made his debut in the tournament four years ago, when staged in the German city of Düsseldorf.
It is his third appearance; most importantly it and his first success; furthermore, there is an element of revenge.

“I’m very happy. It was my goal to qualify for the main draw. Both of my opponents are top players, so I’m very satisfied. I think that in the first match my head was everywhere. Simon is a good player, so I knew that it would be a tough encounter Therefore, I tried to forget about the first match and approach the second one with a fresh mind. The atmosphere in the hall is amazing. The crowd is very loud and I think that everyone is enjoying playing here.” Kanak Jha

In 2014 in Düsseldorf, after qualifying for the tournament by winning the North American Cup just after his 15th birthday, he finished in third place in his group behind Romania’s Adrian Crisan and Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An. Last year in Liège, he was beaten in his opening contest by Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu but he came mightily close to causing a major upset. He lost in seven games to the no.9 seed (9-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-1, 11-4).

However, the player that doomed him to third place and farewell, was a certain Quadri Aruna; he beat Kanak Kha in six games (7-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5). In Paris, Kanak Jha turned the tables.

Success contrary to expectations for Kanak Jha, who finished the group in second position behind Frenchman, Simon Gauzy, the no.10 seed; in the remaining contests that brought the day to a conclusion, the outcomes were as predicted.

“Today was a bad day for me. That’s sport. I think I played a bit better in the first match. I knew that the second match would be very difficult and I didn’t start very well, making it an uphill battle. It’s an unbelievable atmosphere here and one of the best I’ve seen so far in the world. I think it’s a very good tournament. I’ll now be going back to my club in Portugal and will continue to train and work hard.” Quadri Aruna

The professor of control, Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.15 seed, secured first place in his group courtesy of success against the host nation’s Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.17 seed (11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 13-11).

Meanwhile, Gustavo Tsuboi, the 16 seed, restored a degree of Brazilian pride, following the defeats experienced earlier in the day by colleague Hugo Calderano; he overcame Panagiotis Gionis of Greece, the no.19 seed (11-6, 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8) to secure second place in the group behind Korea Republic’s Jang Seongun, the no.11 seed.

Impressive from Gustavo Tsuboi, it was the same from Sweden’s Mattias Falck; he accounted for Australia’s Heming Hu, the no.20 seed (11-5, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6) to finish next in line to Denmark’s Jonathan Groth.

Play in the main draw, the first round and quarter-finals, will be held on Saturday 20th October.

World Cup 2018 Liebherr Men's World Cup Kanak Jha

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Day 3 - Liebherr 2018 ITTF Men´s World Cup

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