14 Nov 2018

Present at the recent Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar duly secured first place in his group in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open on Tuesday 13th November; the outcome was as anticipated, he was the highest rated player on initial phase duty.

However, there were plenty of surprises; the saving grace for leading names who suffered defeat being that players finishing the day in first and second positions in each group advanced to the main draw.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Notably, Austria’s Thomas Grininger, the no.2 seed, had to settle for runners up spot in his group. He was beaten by Chen Yutao (9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7) on a day when China very much made its present felt.

Contrary to status, Chen Yutao duly topped the group, a similar feat was also achieved by colleagues Ziu Hangcheng, Sun Zheng, Zhao Zihao and Zhang Yinfei. Likewise contrary to expectations there were first places for Poland’s Kamil Nepa and Artur Grela, a situation that applied also to Russia’s Petr Fedotov, Slovakia’s Daniel Orac and Italy’s Matteo Mutti.

However, the player to attract the attention was Croatia’s Wei Shihao. After beating Russia’s Lev Katsman, the highest rated player in the group (11-8, 11-8, 11-3), he accounted for China’s Yang Qulong (11-4, 11-9, 11-2), followed by success against the Czech Republic’s Patrik Klos (11-4, 11-7, 11-5) to reserve first place in a most commanding manner.

“I played three matches today and succeeded in each of them. The hardest was against the Chinese player, Yang Qulong but I managed to win. My next encounter is set for tomorrow morning and I’m looking forward to it.” Wei Shihao

Impressive from Wei Shihao, amongst the leading names, there were also impressive performances from Turkey’s Ibrahim Gündüz, the Czech Republic’s Stanislav Kucera and Belgium’s Thibaut Darcis, as well as from Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko. All ended the day unbeaten and in first positions in their respective groups.

The first three rounds of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event will be held on Wednesday 4th November.

Challenge Series 2018 Belarus Open Wei Shihao

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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open