16 Nov 2018

Both present at the start of the year in February in Luxembourg at the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals, on Friday 16th November India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar and Russia’s Denis Ivonin continued their progress in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open in Minsk.

Required to compete in the qualification tournament, at the quarter-final stage, each accounted for players who likewise had been required to start their journey in the preliminary group phase; Manav Vikash Thakkar overcame Russia’s Lev Katsman (11-5, 11-7, 15-13), Denis Ivonin beat Frenchman Le de Nodrest (11-7, 11-8, 11-6).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

It is for Manav Vikash Thakkar one more step, for Denis Ivonin it is two steps.

They both proved themselves in the next highest age group; in the early months of the year in February, Kanak Jha of the United States had proved their nemesis at the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals; Denis Ivonin had suffered at the semi-final stage, Manav Vikash Thakkar in the final.

Additionally for Denis Ivonin it is the first time he has reached the semi-final stage of an Under 21 Men’s Singles event at an open international tournament; his previous best being the round of the last eight earlier in the year in Croatia. Notably, for Manav Vikash Thakkar, it is the second such occasion when he has advanced to the penultimate round. Last year he was a semi-finalist in Bulgaria, earlier this year a quarter-finalist in Thailand.

Furthermore, the rounds they reached in Luxembourg or the reverse could be the outcome, they meet in the semi-final.

Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, Yuta Tanaka, the no.11 seed and the only seed to reach the quarter-finals, continued his progress but he was severely examined; he needed the full five games to beat the Czech Republic’s Stanislav Kucera (11-9, 11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 11-4).

In the penultimate round, China’s Zhao Zihao, present earlier this year on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour in Bulgaria, awaits; he reserved his place courtesy of success in opposition to Turkey’s Abdullah Yigenler (11-6, 11-6, 11-6).

The semi-finals of the Men’s Singles event will be player later in the day in the evening session of play.

Challenge Series 2018 Belgium Open Manav Vikash Thakkar Denis Ivonin

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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open

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Day 3 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open

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