13 Nov 2018

Disappointments for the host nation in the qualification group stage of the Men’s Singles event but no defeats that could be considered surprises; at the end of the first day of action, Tuesday 13th November, at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open in Minsk, hopes of progress to the main draw were still very much alive.

Both Gleb Shamruk and Vadim Yarashenka ended the day unbeaten, one match played, one success.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Gleb Shamruk beat Ukraine’s Yuriy Nadolnyy (11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 11-13, 11-9, 7-11), Vadim Yarashenka accounted for Korea Republic’s Kim Jihwan (10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6).

“During the first two games I was completely focused on the match, which is why I succeeded rather easily but then I felt too self-assured and loosened the grip for a while; this was enough for Nadolnyy to strike back. We struggled for every point. Nonetheless, in the seventh game I remembered everything I had learned about my opponent’s game throughout the whole encounter and gained victory without any major difficulties.” Gleb Shamruk

Hard fought wins and defeat for Ukraine but there was the reverse scenario, Oleksandr Didukh, who spends much of his time sitting courtside advising brother Viktor in Class 8 events at Para tournaments, emerged successful in a hard fought conests against Italy’s Gabriele Piciulin (9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 7-11, 11-7).

“Piciulin had already played one match before our encounter, but I had not. Hence, I needed some time to adjust to the speed of the play and find the right tactics. I was looking for answers when the score was two-nil, he attacked with different techniques. I played short but he’s really good at receiving such strokes. I kept changing direction to help me get back into the match and win the last game.” Oleksandr Didukh

Play in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event concludes on Wednesday 14th November.

Challenge Series 2018 Belarus Open Oleksandr Didukh Vadim Yarashenka Gleb Shamruk

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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open