14 Nov 2018

Surprise names had secured first positions, as the group stage of the Men’s Singles qualification tournament for places in the main draw at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open in Minsk, concluded on the first day of action.

It was the same on the second day of play, Wednesday 14th November, as players in group no.22 to group no.43 sought top spots and thus passports to the preliminary round.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

One day earlier China’s Liu Jia, Shen Zhesong, Sun Zheng and Yu Hengrui had reserved first places in their respective groups; likewise Germany’s Qiu Lang and Japan’s Shogo Tahara had achieved the same goal.

On the second day of action, a further Chinese player in the guise of Zhang Haipu followed suit, as did another German, Gerrit Engemann. Also, contrary to expectations there were first places for Kazkahstan’s Timur Kelbuganov and Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbad.

Zhang Haipu concluded his initial stage itinerary with success against the host nation’s Mikhail Tsyhanouski (11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6), having the previous day accounted for Tyrese Knight of Barbados (2-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6), the highest rated player in the group.

Otherwise, it was success against the leading name in the group with Gerrit Engemann being the player to cause the host nation pain; he accounted for Gleb Shamruck (11-5, 11-1, 8-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-4).

A fine effort from Gerritt Engeman, it was the same from Abdulaziz Al-Abbad, who overcame Russia’s Vitali Murzin (11-6, 11-8, 11-2, 11-8) and from Lev Katsman. He accounted for Israel’s Mathan Simon (11-5, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-7). Timur Kelbuganov received a walk-over when scheduled to face Sweden’s injured, Simon Soderlund.

Play in the preliminary round of the Men’s Singles event will be staged later in the day; the main draw commences on Thursday 15th November.

Challenge Series 2018 Belarus Open Lev Katsman

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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open