15 Feb 2019

Places in the main draw at stake, there was intense competition in Lisbon as the qualification stage of proceedings at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open came to a close on Thursday 14th February.

Young players with aspirations made their presence felt; however, there was one more senior name who underlined the fact that skills have not dimmed, whilst for the host nation there was a degree of success.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

However one fact was crystal clear, the Chinese depth of talent is undiminished; any nation seeking to usurp their current status has one momentous task.

…………Ten Chinese players qualified for the men’s singles main draw – Cao Wei, Liu Yebo, Niu Guankai, Sai Linwei, Sun Wen, Xiang Peng, Xu Haidong, Xu Yingbin, Yu Heyi and Zhang Yudong.

…………In the women’s singles competition, nine players from China advanced to the tournament proper – Chen Yi, Fan Siqi, Guo Yuhan, Hu Limei, Huang Yingqi, Kuai Man, Li Jiayuan, Wu Yangchen and Zhang Binyue.

…………Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic, now 43 years old, beat Italy’s Gabriele Picuilin (11-2, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8) to reserve his place in the men’s singles main draw before achieving the same feat in the mixed doubles event in harness with compatriot, Izabela Lupulesku. In the preliminary round, they beat Norway’s Borgar Haug and Ma Wenting (11-9, 8-11, 11-3, 11-5).

…………Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Yu-Chin emerged the player to cause the biggest upset in the under 21 women’s singles event; she beat Belgium’s Lisa Lung, the no.2 seed (11-8, 12-10, 11-8), before reserving her place in the quarter-finals by ousting Sweden’s Filippa Bergand (11-6, 11-7, 11-7).

…………Satsuki Odo justified her status in the under 21 women’s singles event, the top seed, she accounted for India’s Archana Girish Kamath, the reserve her last eight place (11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-2).

…………Romania’s Adina Diaconu was very much a player in form; she beat Spain’s Zhang Xuan, the no.8 seed (11-9, 11-7, 11-9) to reach the quarter-finals of the under 21 women’s singles event. Meanwhile, in the women’s singles competition she booked her place in the main draw courtesy of success in opposition to colleague, Andreea Dragoman (11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10).

…………Likewise for Romania, Rares Sipos excelled; the top seed he reached the under 21 men’s singles quarter-finals, before reserving his main draw men’s singles place.

…………Liu Yebo caused the biggest upset in the under 21 men’s singles event; in the second round he ousted Japan’s Yukiya Uda, the no.4 seed (11-5, 11-5, 12-10), before ending the hopes of Italy’s Antonino Amato (11-6, 11-5, 11-7).

…………Shunsuke Togami and Yumeno Soma impressed for Japan, both booked main draw places in the respective men’s singles and women’s singles events, having also reached the quarter-finals of the under 21 men’s and under 21 women’s competitions.

…………Diogo Carvalho and Diogo Silva shone for Portugal, both secured men’s singles main draw places.

Challenge Series 2019 Portugal Open Adina Diaconu

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Day 2 - Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge+ Portugal Open

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