Tournaments

17 Nov 2018

Four days of play concluded in Minsk, upsets have been plentiful; as play concluded on the evening of Friday 16th November at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open, life was no different.

Russia’s Denis Ivonin and China’s Zhao Zihao booked their places in the final of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event; their success coming immediately after the latter’s colleague, He Aige and Japan’s Miku Izumo had done exactly the same in the counterpart Under 21 Women’s Singles competition. All four players started their journey in the qualification tournament.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Competing against fellow qualifier, Denis Ivonin accounted for India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar in a five games contest decided by the minimal two point margin (5-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-6, 11-9); rather more comfortably, Zhao Zihao overcame the number one seeded player to reach the Under 21 Men’s Singles semi-final round.

He beat Japan’s Yuta Tanaka, the no.11 seed, in four games (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7) and the winner earlier this year in Thailand when overcoming Korea Republic’s Cho Daeseong in the final.

Surprise outcomes in the penultimate round of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event; in the counterpart Under 21 Women’s Singles competition, the surprises were arguably greater.

Occupying the respective top two seeded positions in the draw, status suggested that Japan’s Miyuu Kihara and Satsuki Odo would reach the final; it was to prove the exact opposite. Miyuu Kihara was beaten by He Aige in four games (6-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9); Satsuki Odo lost to colleague Miku Izumo in a five games contest that was on the proverbial knife edge until the very last point (13-11, 15-17, 11-5, 11-5, 3-11, 11-9).

Semi-final defeats for both Miyuu Kihara and Satsuki Odo but they have time on their side, they are only 14 years old and will still be eligible for Under 21 Women’s Singles events in 2025!

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Challenge Series 2018 Belarus Open Manav Vikash Thakkar Miyuu Kihara Satsuki Odo Yuta Tanaka Denis Ivonin Zhao Zihao He Aige Miki Izumo
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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open