14 Nov 2018

Making the next steps, having been regular faces on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, three 19 year olds impressed in the preliminary round of the Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open in Minsk on Wednesday 14th November.

Germany’s Tobias Hippler and Gerrit Engemann alongside Russia’s Denis Ivonin all booked main draw places.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Tobias Hippler, who in 2016 won the Junior Boys’ Singles title in Tunisia and earlier this year was the Under 21 Men’s Singles runner up at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open, accounted for Slovakia’s Alexander Valuch in six games (11-7, 8-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6).

A fine effort from Tobias Hippler, it was the same from Gerrit Engemann; last year a semi-finalist at the 2017 Czech Junior and Cadet Open; most impressively in four straight games he overcame Japan’s Shogo Tahara (11-4, 17-15, 11-3, 11-7).

Similarly, Denis Ivon, the winner last year at the Egypt Junior and Cadet Open raised the eyebrows; he booked his place in the main draw courtesy of success in opposition to Kazakhstan’s Timur Kelbuganov (11-4, 8-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7).

Impressive form from three European teenagers; it was the same from two young men from Japan as main draw places were reserved. Koyo Kanamitsu beat Turkey’s Abdullah Yingeler (11-3, 10-12, 11-7, 8-11, 11-2, 11-7), Shunsuke Togami overcame Zhang Haipu (6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7).

Defeat for one young Chinese player new to the international arena; however, in the Men’s Singles preliminary round there was plenty of success for the newcomers representing the country’s powerhouse of the sport.

Zhao Zihao beat Frenchman Benjamin Brossier (11-9, 11-2, 11-9, 11-3), Liu Jia accounted for Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbad (11-9, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4). Likewise Sun Zheng prevailed against Italy’s Antonino Amato (11-8, 11-9, 11-6, 11-1), Shen Zhesong ended the hopes of Germany’s Qiu Lang (11-6, 11-8, 3-11, 11-7, 11-5).

In the remaining Men’s Singles preliminary round contests, Ukraine’s now 36 year old, Oleksandr Didukh accounted for Russia’s Lev Katsman (12-10, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7); Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi received a walk-over when due to face China’s Yu Hegrui.

Play in the draw commences on Thursday 15th November.

Challenge Series 2018 Belarus Open Tobias Hippler Denis Ivonin Gerrit Engemann

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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open