21 Mar 2019

A place in the main draw, the quest on Thursday 21st March at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Guadalajara; intense competition was the order of the day.

There was little margin for error; in the men’s singles event only top place in the group sufficed; in the counterpart women’s singles competition, runners up spot provided a second chance in the form of a preliminary round.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Men’s Singles Qualification

…………the top two names both reserved main draw places. Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen concluded his initial phase itinerary by beating Portugal’s José Pedro Francisco (11-4, 11-7, 11-7); Frenchman Joe Seyfried accounted for Belgium’s Valentin Pieraert (12-10, 11-3, 11-2).

…………winner on the ITTF World Tour in 2005 in Rio de Janeiro; for Romania’s Adrian Crisan, there will be no such celebration in Guadalajara. He was beaten by Germany’s Steffen Mengel, (8-11, 11-7, 14-12, 6-11, 11-6); the win meant Steffen Mengel topped the group.

…………On duty at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Frenchman Bastien Rembert caught the eye. He beat a player twice his age to reserve a main draw place; in his concluding group stage contest he accounted for Ukraine’s 37 year old Oleksandr Didukh (11-9, 11-5, 11-8).

Women’s Singles Qualification

…………Russia’s Ekaterina Guseva, the surprise winner on the opening day of play in opposition to Audrey Zarif of France (11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9), the leading name on initial phase duty, duly topped her group. In her concluding contest, she overcame Trinidad and Tobago’s Catherine Spicer in straight games (11-8, 11-8, 11-4)

…………Defensive skills to the fore, Russia’s Maria Dolgikh was very much the player in form, she beat Japan’s Ayane Morita (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6) to secure first place in the group. Later, Ayane Morita emerged successful in the preliminary round to secure her place in the main draw, she accounted for Slovakia’s Eva Jurkova (11-8, 11-6, 11-4, 11-2)

…………Once again Russia proved the nemesis of Audrey Zarif. In the preliminary round she was beaten by Irina Ermakova (11-6, 12-10, 7-11, 5-11, 11-6, 9-11, 13-11)

Men’s Doubles Qualification

…………Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Mahmoud Helmy excelled. In the second preliminary round, they overcame the Belgium combination of Thibault Darcis and Valentin Pieraert in three straight games (11-2, 11-7, 11-6) to book their main draw place

Women’s Doubles Qualification

…………success for the host nation’s Liu Xin and Maria Xiao. They booked their place in the main draw in an impressive manner. In the second preliminary round they beat Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsin and Huang Yu-Chiao in three straight games (11-9, 11-7, 11-5)

Under 21 Men’s Singles Qualification

…………Belgium’s Valentin Pieraert, Chinese Taipei’s Huang Chien-Tu and Tian Ye of the United States emerged the surprise names to secure group first places. In their concluding contests Valentin Pieraert beat Serbia’s Aleksa Gacev (9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9), Huang Chien-Tu overcame India’s Birdie Boro (11-9, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8), Tian Ye accounted for Malta’s Gabriel Grixti (11-5, 11-4, 11-8)

Under 21 Women’s Singles Qualification

…………Contrary to expectations, Slovakia’s Natalia Grigelova and Nikoleta Puchovanova alongside the host nation’s Ana Garcia secured first places in the respective groups. In the concluding contests Natalia Grelova caused the biggest upset, she beat Slovenia’s Ansa Tofant (7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 13-11, 11-9) the highest rated player in the qualification stage. Similarly in impressive form, both Nikoleta Puchovanova and Ana Garcia beat the highest rated players in their group. Nikoleta Puchovanova accounted for Croatia’s Clara Cakol (11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9), Ana Garcia overcame Nolwenn Fort of France (11-6, 11-13, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5).

Challenge Series 2019 Seamaster Spanish Open Steffen Mengel

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Day 3 - Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open