24 Oct 2018

Present earlier in the year on the international scene in Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and Croatia, as well as the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona but yet to make a mark; on Wednesday 24th October at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open in De Haan, Turkey’s Sibel Altinkaya made her mark.

The 25 year old caused a major surprise; most importantly she booked her place in the main tournament.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

She beat the one player on duty the qualification stage of the Women’s Singles event who has an ITTF World Tour title to her credit; in the second preliminary round she accounted for Portugal’s Shao Jieni in six games (10-12, 11-4, 11-6, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9), the winner in both 2015 and 2016 in Lagos.

Furthermore, she upset the current Women’s World Rankings, presently Shao Jieni is listed at no.125; Sibel Altinkaya is named over one hundred places lower at no.256.

It was the performance to catch the eye as the top half of the draw progressed and to some extent destined the splendid efforts of Croatia’s Mateja Jeger to the shadows. Beating a Chinese adversary in an international competition is always a win to note; impressively, Mateja Jeger overcame Cai Jiangnan (11-7, 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9).

Perhaps Cai Jiangnan does not have the international experience of Mateja Jeger but it has been known for a Chinese player to commence matters in the qualification stage and progress to win the tournament. Cao Zhen set the trend in 2003 in Malaysia.

“Chinese players are always difficult to play. I had a good feeling but was a bit unlucky in the fifth set. I managed to recover and finish the match. I am happy that I reached the main draw. Everything is bonus now for me.” Mateja Jeger

Defeat for Cai Jiangnan but for colleagues Guo Xinyi and Gu Tingting it was success and places in the main draw; Guo Xinyi beat Finland’s Anna Kirichenko (11-5, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11), Gu Tingting accounted for Norway’s Ilka Duval (7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6).

Hard fought wins but not as hard as that secured by Korea Republic’s Shin Yubin; eventually, she overcame Sweden’s Jennifer Jonsson by the very narrowest of decisions (9-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-6, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9). Defeat for Sweden but there was success, Filippa Bergand secured success against Bulgaria’s Maria Yovkova (11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9).

Play in the main draw commences on Thursday 25th October.

Challenge Series 2018 Belgium Open Sibel Altinkaya

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Day 3 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open

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