25 Oct 2018

Impressive on the two days of qualification, notably safely through to the main draw of the Men’s Singles event, Japan’s Aoto Asazu maintained his splendid form as play commenced in the opening round of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open in De Haan on the morning of Thursday 25th October.

He caused the biggest upset of the round; he beat Germany’s Nils Hohmeier, the no.9 seed in three straight games (11-9, 11-8, 11-8).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Defeat for Germany against the odds but there was the reverse scenario; both Gerrit Engemann and Meng Fanbo caused surprises, whilst Tobias Hippler and Dennis Klein progressed as anticipated.

Notably Meng Fanbo overcame Japan’s Yukiya Uda, the no.13 seed (11-8, 11-5, 11-13, 10-12, 11-8), Gerrit Engemann accounted for Belgium’s Florian Cnudde, the no.10 seed (8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5). Meanwhile, Tobias Hippler, the no.8 seed emerged successful against the Czech Republic’s Patrik Klos (6-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-6, 11-5); Dennis Klein ended the hopes of Italy’s Chen Shuainan (11-8, 11-7, 11-8).

“I played great against the Japanese player. He had some problems with my service and I managed to go two-zero up in games. After he received better and played more aggressive. In the fifth set I stayed calm and won the match. This is my first tournament after my junior career; it’s great to already obtain victories against higher ranked players. Now I can play without any pressure.” Meng Fanbo

Success for Meng Fanbo and Gerrit Engemann contrary to expectations; they were not alone.

Likewise in the top half of the draw, in addition to Aoto Asazu, Italy’s Jordy Piccolin beat Argentina’s Horacio Cifuentes, the no.24 seed (12-10, 13-11, 10-12, 7-11, 11-7), Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin accounted for the host nation’s Thibaut Darcis (12-14, 12-10, 11-4, 11-7). Also in form, Nicolas Tito of the United States overcame Slovakia’s Samuel Kaluzny (9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 15-13, 11-9); Korea Republic’s An Jaehyun ended the hopes of the Czech Republic’s Stanislav Kucera (11-9, 11-5, 11-5).

Similarly, in the lower half of the draw, Chinese Taipei’s Li Hsin-Yang prevailed against England’s Tom Jarvis, the no.17 seed (11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-1), Japan’s Kakeru Sone ended the ambitions of Hong Kong’s Kwan Man Ho (9-11, 7-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-2). Not to be left out, in a similar manner, Belgium’s Laurens Devos ousted Sweden’s Simon Soderlund, the no.27 seed (7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6) to very much add a layer of icing to the cake.

Upsets but not for the leading names; Ng Pak Nam, the top seed and like Kwan Man Ho from Hong Kong, beat Italy’s Matteo Mutti (6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-2), Korea Republic’s Cho Seungmin, the no.2 seed, ousted Su Zhi, also from Hong Kong (12-10, 12-10, 11-4). Impressive performances, it was the same from Hungary’s Bence Majoros, the no.3 seed, who accounted for Frenchman Irvin Bertrand (11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 6-11, 11-9), as it was for Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the no.4 seed, who ended the hopes of Australia’s Lin Xuqi (11-7, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4).

Success and no doubt delighted to progress but the most pleased of all would appear to be Romania’s Rares Sipos, the no.6 seed, recovering strongly from a previous day’s defeat. He accounted for Frenchman, Lilian Bardet (11-5, 12-10, 12-14, 11-6).

“I was disappointed after my loss against Simon Arvidsson. Now I focus on the Under 21 competition. Many good players are present in the tournament. I know that I am one of the favourites but the road is still long. I am taking it match by match.” Rares Sipos

The second and third rounds of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event will be played later in the day.

Challenge Series 2018 Belgium Open Aoto Asazu

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Day 3 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open

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