14 Nov 2018

A quarter-final place reserved by Japan’s Yuta Tanaka in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open in Minsk on Wednesday 14th November was somewhat contrary to expectations; he commenced play as the no.11 seed.

However, by comparison his appearance was only a very mild surprise. He is the only seeded player still alive! Furthermore, he almost disappeared from view at the hands of a qualifier in the second round.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

After recording an opening round win in opposition to Sweden’s Per Sandström (13-11, 11-9, 11-7), he was stretched to the very limit by China’s Sun Zheng, being required to recover from a two games to nil deficit to secure victory (12-10, 5-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9). A third round place booked, rather less dramatically, he accounted for colleague, Koyo Kanamitsu, the no.8 seed (11-1, 7-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7).

An exit in the round prior to the quarter-finals for Koyo Kanamitsu, for colleague Masaki Takami, the no.5 seed, it was farewell one round earlier, he was beaten by Russia’s Lev Katsman (11-7, 11-8, 11-13, 14-12), who then ousted the Czech Republic’s Jiri Martinko, the no.9 seed (11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6) to reserve his place in the last eight.

Meanwhile for Germany’s Nils Hohmeier, the no.6 seed and for Belgium’s Florian Cnudde, the no.7 seed, it was farewell in the opening round. Nils Hohmeier suffered by the narrowest of margins at the hands of Frenchman Leo de Nodrest (3-11, 11-6, 8-11, 13-11, 12-10), who then proceeded to cause Germany more problems by ousting Gerrit Engemann (9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11). One round later, he reserved his quarter-final place courtesy of success in opposition to Japan’s Kakeru Sone (11-8, 12-10, 11-8).

Somewhat differently, Florian Cnudde was beaten by Austria’s Thomas Grininger (9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10), who then departed at the hands of Turkey’s Abdullah Yingeler (7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9). Good form from Abdullah Yingeler, it was maintained in round three; he ended the progress of Japan’s Yukiya Uda, the no.10 seed and Men’s Singles runner up just under three weeks ago at the ITTF Challenge Belgium Open. Impressively Abdullah Yingeler won in three straight games (11-9, 11-7, 11-5).

Early departures, for the remaining leading names it was a third round exit, all at the expense of players who had been required to compete in the qualification group stage.

India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Japan’s Yuki Matsuyama, the top seed, by narrowest of five game margins (9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9); at the opposite end of the draw, the Czech Republic’s Stanslav Kucera, ended the hopes of Belarus. He accounted for Aliaksandr Khanin (12-10, 11-8, 3-11, 11-8).

Farewell to the top two seeds in the round prior to the quarter-finals, it was the same for the next two names in the order of merit, Poland’s Patryk Zatowka, the no.3 seed and Germany’s Tobias Hippler, the no.4 seed. Patryk Zatowka was beaten by Russia’s Denis Ivonin (6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 12-10), Tobias Hippler lost to China’s Zhao Zihao (11-4, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7).

At the quarter-final stage in the top half of the draw Manav Vikash Thakkar meets Lev Katsman, Leo de Nodrest confronts Denis Ivonin; in the adjacent half Zhao Zhihao plays Abdullah Yingeler, Yuta Tanaka opposes Stanislav Kucera.

The quarter and semi-final matches in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event will be played on Friday 16th November.

Challenge Series 2018 Belarus Open Yuta Tanaka

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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open