15 Nov 2018

A second round exit the previous day in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event, one day later on Thursday 15th November, China’s Sun Zheng responded; he caused the biggest upset to date in the Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open in Minsk.

Required to compete in the two day qualification tournament, he accounted for Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki, the no.6 seed (8-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9); to his credit he laid defeat to rest and responded, a feat that for the 16 year old is not unusual.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Partnering colleague, Yang Qulong, in late May in the Junior Boys’ Team final at the 2018 Canadian Junior and Cadet Open in Markham, a three-two defeat had been the order of the day when facing the United States; Sun Zheng had experienced defeat at the hands of Sharon Alguetti.

One day later at the semi-final stage of the Junior Boys’ Singles event, Sun Zheng had accounted for Sharon Alguetti, before proceeding to secure the title at the final expense of Michael Minh Tran, also from the United States. Now almost six months later, in Minsk, he had been beaten by Japan’s Yuta Tanaka by the very narrowest of margins in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event (12-10, 5-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9); as in Canada, he returned the stronger.

Success contrary to status for Sun Zheng; it was the same as play commenced in the lower half of the Men’s Singles draw for three further players who had been required to negotiate two days of qualification. Japan’s Kenji Matsudaira, Russia’s Alexey Liventsov and Belgium’s Florian Cnudde all upset the order of merit.

Kenji Matsudaira beat Frenchman, Enzo Angles, the no.31 seed (9-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8), Alexey Liventsov accounted for Ewout Ostwouder of the Netherlands, the no.19 seed (11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10). Not to be overshadowed, Florian Cnudde ended the hopes of Vladimir Sidorenko, like Alexey Liventsov from Russia (11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10).

Unexpected outcomes and it was very nearly the same for Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej, the no.4 seed, one of title favourites; he emerged successful but was extended to the very limit. Eventually, by the very minimal two point margin in the deciding seventh game, he overcame Japan’s Koyo Kanamitsu (5-11, 11-13, 11-9, 11-3, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9).

Play in the remaining opening round Men’s Singles matches concludes the day.

Challenge Series 2018 Belarus Open Sun Zheng

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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open