15 Feb 2019

Aspiring teenagers from China; Zeng Beixun and Kuai Man, who last year won the respective cadet boys’ singles and cadet girls’ singles titles at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Myanmar, announced their arrival on the opening day of qualification at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open in Lisbon.

Furthermore, on senior debut, they underlined the fact they were highly qualified; it was top marks.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

However, they were not alone in attracting the attention, there were surprises and it helped if your first name was Diogo.

…………Having beaten Frenchman Irvin Bertrand in the opening round of under 21 men’s singles event (11-7, 11-6, 11-13, 4-11, 11-9), Zeng Beixun booked his place in the third men’s singles preliminary round by overcoming Lithuania’s Tomas Mikutis (11-4, 6-11, 14-12, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7).

…………Likewise, in the first round of the under 21 women’s singles competition, Kuai Man accounted Japan’s Haruna Ojio (9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7), before in the same women’s singles round ousting Tanja Helle of the Netherlands (12-10, 11-8, 12-10, 11-2).

…………Also from China, junior boys’ singles winner at the 2018 Asian Junior Championships was not to be overshadowed. Xiang Peng made a fine start to his campaign in the under 21 men’s singles event by beating Japan’s Kakeru Sone (11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8), before in the men’s singles second preliminary round overcoming Ewout Oostwouder of the Netherlands (11-4, 11-4, 11-6, 11-4)

…………Equally Chen Yi, winner of five cadet girls’ singles titles on the 2018 World Junior Circuit was not to be upstaged. In the opening rounds, in the under 21 women’s singles event, the Chinese teenager beat Chinese Taipei’s Su Pei-Ling (9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7); in the women’s singles she ousted Switzerland’s Céline Reust (11-6, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10).

…………Adding to Chinese success, Xu Haidong, the reigning world junior champion kept his hopes of qualification alive; in the second men’s singles preliminary round he beat Slovakia’s Samuel Novota (8-11, 11-3, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4)

…………Biggest casualties of the day came in the second men’s singles preliminary round. Australia’s Heming Hu, listed at no.126 on the current men’s world rankings, lost to Germany’s Steffen Mengel, named at no.659. Hungary’s Tamas Lakatos, standing at no.142 was beaten by China’s Niu Guankai, presently occupying the no.994 spot (11-4, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8).

…………In the opening round of the women’s singles event, the player in sparkling form was Spain’s Ana Garcia; list at no.539 on the current world rankings, she beat Marie Migot of France, named at no.294, in a tension packed seven games encounter (13-11, 11-7, 4-11, 4-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-9).

…………Best performance, the vote goes to England’s Tom Jarvis; he recovered from a three games to one deficit to beat Irvin Bertrand in the closest finish of the day (6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 14-12).

…………It was Diogo day, success for Portugal. In the second preliminary round of the men’s singles event, Diogo Pinho beat Nigeria’s Bode Abiodun (12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 11-5, 4-11, 11-7), Diogo Silva accounted for Slovakia’s Alexander Valuch (12-10, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4), Diogo Carvalho end the hopes of Spain’s Joan Masip (11-7, 11-6, 11-1, 11-9).

…………Also for the host nation André Silva joined the Diogo party; he beat Italy’s Antonio Amato (8-11, 11-2, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8) to secure his third round men’s singles preliminary round place.

Challenge Series 2019 Portugal Open Zeng Beixun

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Day 2 - Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge+ Portugal Open

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