by Simon Daish
Top four seeds exit
Rated as the top seeded player for the Men’s Singles draw in De Haan, everything appeared to be running smoothly for Omar Assar at the start of the day with the Egyptian competitor beginning his campaign with a solid display against up-and-coming English star Tom Jarvis (4-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5).
However, in his second fixture of the day things took a turn for the worse for Omar Assar as Korea Republic’s Park Ganghyeon stunned the top seed in a seven game thriller (13-11, 10-12, 5-11, 12-14, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7), knocking out the title favourite just one day into the proceedings.
Along with the elimination of the top seed, the second seeded player on duty in De Haan also made a shock departure from the competition with Kirill Gerassimenko crashing out to Li Hsin-Yang (6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 7-11, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10) in round one.
The shock exits didn’t stop there as fourth seed Liao Cheng-Ting suffered an opening round defeat at the hands of Leo De Nodrest (11-7, 11-4, 13-11, 12-10) and in the following round third seed Benedikt Duda lost out to Vitor Ishiy (7-11, 13-11, 12-14, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6).
Qualifiers take centre stage
Required to compete in the two-day qualification event but Ayhika Mukherjee now finds herself in the Round of 16 of the Women’s Singles event following a superb opening day to main draw action in De Haan.
The qualifier from India stormed to a breathtaking 4-2 win over no.14 seed Maki Shiomi (11-6, 11-8, 11-3, 15-17, 5-11, 11-8) to get her day off to a terrific start and one round later Mukherjee sent 18th seed Rachel Moret home after an intense seven games duel (10-12, 11-2, 4-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8).
Just as impressive was Hong Kong’s Zhu Chengzhu, who recovered from a three games deficit to see off tenth seed Cheng Hsien-Tzu (7-11, 6-11, 12-14, 11-4, 13-11, 11-4, 12-10) before completing a mini-comeback against 24th seed Dana Cechova (12-10, 9-11, 11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-2). Zhu Chengzhu will face top seed Saki Shibata in the last 16.
Another unseeded player to leave her mark on Day One was China’s Guo Xinyi who, against expectations, accounted for two-time Belgium Open champion Georgina Pota in the Round of 32 (11-8, 13-11, 11-3, 8-11, 13-11). The opening day wasn’t pleasant for hosts Belgium with Lisa Lung, Nathalie Marchetti and Margo Degraef all falling at the first hurdle.
Under 21 top seeds produce the goods
Ng Pak Nam and Miyu Nagasaki have successfully progressed through to the quarter-finals of the Under 21 Men’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles events following respective victories from the top seeded players over Manav Vikash Thakkar (6-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-1) and Margo Degraef (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7).
However, there was a high-profile elimination in the lower half of the Under 21 Men’s Singles draw as Cho Seungmin, seeded second, exited to unseeded Japanese opponent Kakeru Sone in a tight contest (11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 13-11).