17 Nov 2018

A glittering junior career, most recently in Vila Real retaining his Europe Youth Top 10 title, Romania’s Cristian Pletea was very much the player in form in the third round of the Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open in Minsk on Saturday 17th November.

The 18 year old, the no.23 seed, he accounted for Iran’s Nima Alamian, the no.3 seed and winner three years ago in Belgium; most impressively the teenager prevailed in four straight games (11-1, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Impressive from Cristian Pletea, it was equally impressive from Sweden’s Simon Ardvisson; required to compete in the two day qualification tournament, he ousted Belgium’s Robin Devos, the no.8 seed, in a full distance seven games contest (8-11, 11-6, 12-10, 12-14, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7).

Progress for Simon Ardvisson but not for colleague, Elias Ranefur, likewise a player who had excelled expectations to reach the third round; he was beaten by Japan’s Shunsuke Togami (11-5, 14-12, 11-5, 11-9).

Mixed fortunes for Sweden, it was the same for the host nation Aliaksandr Khanin, the no.5 seed, was beaten by Chinese qualifier, Zhao Zihao (11-4, 14-12, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6), conversely, Pavel Platonov, the no.14 seed, overcame a most dangerous adversary in the guise of Japan’s Yuki Matsuyama, the no.24 seed (11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8).

Defeat for Yuki Matsuyama but for Japan the scales of balance were in favour of success. In addition to Shunsuke Togami, Kakeru Sone progressed; facing fellow qualifier, he ousted Italy’s Leonardo Mutti (13-11, 13-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6).

Progress for unexpected names, in the remaining third round Men’s Singles matches it was progress rather more as anticipated. Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej, the no.4 seed, beat Frenchman, Antoine Hachard, the no.22 seed (12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7); India’s consistently improving Harmeet Desai, the no.9 seed, ended the adventures of China’s Sun Zheng, a qualifier (11-9, 13-15, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 14-12).

At the quarter-final stage Shunsuke Togami meets Simon Ardvisson, Pavel Platonov opposes Cristian Pletea; in the adjacent half of the draw Lubomir Pistej confronts Harmeet Desai, Zhao Zihao faces Kakeru Sone.

The matches will be played later in the day in the evening session of play.

Challenge Series 2018 Belarus Open Cristian Pletea

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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open