by Simon Daish
Back at the 2016 Belgium Open the host nation’s very own Cedric Nuytinck successfully came through the semi-finals of the Men’s Singles competition before eventually finishing with a silver medal to his name behind India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.
Two years on and no.8 seed Cedric Nuytinck will once again have the opportunity to reach the final in De Haan. However, standing in Belgian’s way is Japanese teenager Yukiya Uda, who exited at this very stage last year and will be keen to avoid the same fate this time around.
The other spot up for grabs in the gold medal match will be awarded to an unseeded competitor as two qualifiers meet face-to-face in the upper half of the draw. In their first international battle who will prevail between Korea Republic’s Park Ganghyeon and Germany’s Qiu Dang?
First seed meets fourth seed in the opening semi-final of the Women’s Singles tournament as Saki Shibata takes on Miyu Nagasaki. Standing atop the medals podium in 2017, Saki Shibata naturally heads into the match with the odds on her side but in their only previous meeting at senior level, which came at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Series Slovenia Open, it was Miyu Nagasaki who came away the happier player – will it be a repeat outcome in De Haan?
Honoka Hashimoto is Japan’s third representative in the penultimate round of the category – a five-time Women’s Singles finalist at Challenge Series events but Honoka Hashimoto could face a difficult task ahead in De Haan with 14-year-old star Shin Yubin of Korea Republic providing the opposition.
The two doubles tournaments also draw to a close on Day Three with two cracking finals to look forward to. First up we will see whether or not second seeds Ni Xialian and Sarah De Nutte can hold off the Japanese teenage duo of Saki Shibata and Satsuki Odo in the Women’s Doubles final before another pair from Japan, Kakeru Sone and Yuta Tanaka take on Korea’s An Jaehyun and Cho Seungmin for the Men’s Doubles crown.
Watch the action unfold live from De Haan via tv.ittf.com