03 May 2019

Qualification completed, play in the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Serbia Open commenced in Budapest in earnest on Friday 3rd May.

Following the play as the day unfolds.

Croatian a revelation and inspiration

Men’s Singles Round Two

At the recently concluded Liebherr 2019 World Championships, Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar was a revelation; in the second round in Belgrade he was an inspiration; he beat Iran’s Amin Ahmadian in four straight games (11-7, 12-10, 14-12, 11-6) to reserve his place in round three.

“I never played Ahmadian before, so I found some videos of his play to prepare for this match.” Tomislav Pucar

Notably in the lower half of the draw he was one of only two names to progress to the round of the last 16 players as expected; the other was Portugal’s Diogo Carvalho, the no.15 seed. He progressed courtesy of success in opposition to Belgian qualifier, Florian Cnudde (11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8).

Diogo Carvalho justified his seeded position (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Qualifiers book third round place

Men’s Singles – Round Two

Required to qualify, Russia’s Viacheslav Burov and Lev Katsman, alongside Japan’s Yuta Tanaka and Frenchman Abdel-Kader Salifou, booked third round places.

All recorded impressive second round wins, pride of place going to Yuta Tanaka; he accounted for Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang, the no.7 seed (11-4, 11-6, 11-5, 11-13, 11-8). Meanwhile, Viacheslav Burov beat Frenchman Enzo Angles (11-8, 12-10, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5); Abdel-Kader Salifou ousted fellow qualifier Slovakia’s Samuel Novota (13-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6); Lev Katsman ended the hopes of Belgium’s Martin Allegro, the no.11 seed (11-9, 11-1, 11-4, 8-11, 11-6).

“I am so happy with my performance, I played two matches today and won both of them. It is my first time that I win matches like this in Challenge tournaments, so I am so happy because. of them.” Abdel-Kader Salifou

In the opening round Abdel Kader-Salifou had beaten Japan’s Masaki Yoshida, the no.6 seed (11-9, 11-5, 13-11, 6-11, 11-6).

Brian Afanador wiser for the experience

Men’s Singles – Round Two

So near yet so far at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships when suffering by the narrowest of seven game margins against England’s Liam Pitchford, Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador endorsed the fact that he learned from the experience.

The no.19 seed, he accounted for Portugal’s João Geraldo, the no. 13 seed (11-6, 5-11, 11-7, 14-12, 7-11, 9-11, 11-2).

Brian Afanador learning from experience (Photo: José Hudo)
Adam Szudi causes major upset

Men’s Singles – Round Two

Hungary’s Adam Szudi caused the biggest upset of the day and in a most imposing manner.

The no.26 seed, he accounted for Belgium’s Florent Lambiet, the no.4 seed, in four straight games (12-10, 11-6, 13-11, 11-4).

Top seed asserts authority

Men’s Singles – Round Two

Austria’s Stefan Fegerl, the top seed, asserted his authority on proceedings and in so doing caused the host nation pain; he beat Zolt Peto, the no.31 seed, in seven games (9-11, 7-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5).

“After World Championships I was sick till now. I had only one practice. I won but I was not really happy with my performance. After 3-1 for him I started to play better and better, he became nervous. He had a big chance at 6-1 in fifth game; my mentality is not to give up, I didn’t.” Stefan Fegerl

Likewise, as play in the top half of the draw evolved, there was also success for another major contender for honours. Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, the no.3 seed, ended the hopes of Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo, the no.22 seed (9-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7).

“I am very happy because I won this game; this win gives me confidence. I will go step by step and see what happens.” Marcelo Aguirre

Marcelo Aguirre who beat Olajide Omotayo to book his third round place (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Run continues

Men’s Singles – Round Two

No current world ranking, the quite remarkable progress of Japan’s Shogo Tahara continued, by the narrowest of margins he progressed to the second round courtesy of success against fellow qualifier, Russia’s Sadi Ismailov (3-11, 13-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-9).

Success against the odds for one Japanese player, there was success for another; Yuki Matsuyama, the no.28 seed, overcame Belgium’s Robin Devos, the no.8 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6).

Serbian hopes end

Women’s Singles – Round Two

Serbian hopes ended in the second round. Izabela Lupulesku, the no.13 seed, suffered at the hands of Audrey Zarif of France.

Similarly, Sabina Surjan, who had been required to qualify, was beaten by Italy’s Li Xian, the no.17 seed (11-5, 11-5, 11-13, 13-11, 9-11, 11-3).

Disappointment for Izabela Lupulesku (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Hong Kong in evidence

Women’s Singles – Round Two

Players from Hong Kong were very much in evidence as the second round progressed. Mak Tze Wing, the no.22 seed, lost to Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova, the no.4 seed (11-8, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9).

Conversely, Zhang Wenling beat fellow qualifier, Slovakia’s Eva Jurkova (11-7, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9), whilst Minnie Soo Wai Yam prevailed in the all Hong Kong exchange. The no.2 seed, she beat qualifier Lam Yee Lok (9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 13-11, 11-8).

Anna Bikbaeva causes major upset

Women’s Singles – Round Two

Listed at no.366 on the current world rankings Anna Bikbaeva, the former Anna Blazhko, caused the biggest shock of the day to day; she beat Russian colleague, Yana Noskova, the no.6 seed, in six games (11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8).

“I won, it was my first win against her, so it is a big surprise for me too. I am very happy that I play in last 16 round. I will do my best in that match, let’s see what will happen.” Anna Bikbaeva

A surprise defeat for Yana Noskova (Photo: Hussein Sayed)
Prominent names end qualifiers’ progress

Women’s Singles – Round Two

Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam, Russia’s Polina Mikhailova and Hungary’s Szandra Pergel  booked third round places.

In the second round, all ended the hopes of qualifiers. Ng Wing Nam, the no.3 seed, beat Croatia’s Ivana Malobabic (11-2, 11-2, 11-6, 11-6); Polina Mikhailova, the no.5 seed, accounted for Hungary’s Orsolya Feher (11-3, 11-2, 11-4, 14-12), Szandra Pergel, the no.7 seed, overcame Oceane Guisnel of France (11-8, 11-7, 17-15, 12-10).

Qualifiers maintain progress

Women’s Singles – Round Two

Qualifiers Japan’s Airi Abe and Krittwika Roy alongside Hong Kong’s Zhu Chengzhu, the no.28 seed, emerged the players to upset the seeding as the second round began.

Airi Abe beat Pauline Chasselin of France, the no.16 seed (16-14, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10), Krittwika Roy overcame Portugal’s Shao Jieni, the no.14 seed (11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8) and winner on the ITTF World Tour in Lagos in both 2015 and 2016.

“I played here in the qualifications here. Today I just played my game and I just wanted to win each point, not to think about match. I am trying to play my best game every time, to show what I learn in training.” Krittwika Roy

Meanwhile, Zhu Chengzhu ended the hopes of Spain’s Zhang Sofia-Xuan, the no.12 seed (11-7, 11-4, 11-2, 11-9.

Zhu Chengzhu who beat Zhang Sofia-Xuan (Photo: Ireneusz Kanabrodzki)
Hina Hayata makes intentions clear

Women’s Singles – Round Two

Winner earlier in the year is Lisbon and Muscat, Japan’s Hina Hayata made her intentions clear. She beat Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara in four straight games (11-7, 11-5, 11-2, 11-1)

“I played a very good match and deserved to win. My rival played good match too. My plan is to focus on every single game and not to think too much in advance. I have won two Challenge Plus tournaments this year. My plan is to win here, too.” Hina Hayata

Hero in Budapest, solid start in Belgrade

Men’s Singles – Round One

One of the standout players at the recent Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest, Tomislav Pucar is off to a flying start in Belgrade: meeting Russia’s Nikita Artemenko at the first hurdle the Croatian needed just four games to sail into round two (15-13, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5).

However, Japan’s Masaki Yoshida won’t be joining Pucar in the last 32 after the no.6 seed suffered elimination at the hands of France’s Abdel-Kader Salifou (11-9, 11-5, 13-11, 6-11, 11-6).

Tomislav Pucar maintaining Budapest form (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Nerves of steel

Men’s Singles – Round One

Belgium’s Florent Lambiet, seeded fourth, has advanced from his opening round fixture by the skin of his teeth, seeing off Slovenian opponent Peter Hribar in a dramatic contest (11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 5-11, 12-10).

The 13th seed João Geraldo of Portugal also moves through courtesy of a 4-3 victory over Japan’s Asuka Machi (11-7, 2-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-2, 4-11, 13-11) but there was no such joy for no.9 seed Thiago Monteiro with the Brazilian losing out to Russia’s Viacheslav Burov (9-11, 11-4, 13-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7).

Fifth seed suffers shock departure

Men’s Singles – Round One

Seeded in the no.5 spot for the men’s singles but England’s Sam Walker will play no further part in the draw after suffering a round one departure: the pace setter in the early stages of the match, Japan’s Shogo Tahara went on prevail 4-0 in one of the biggest stories so far in Belgrade (11-4, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10).

Opening round defeat for England’s Sam Walker (Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Brave effort but young Canadian falls

Men’s Singles – Round One

Successfully coming through the men’s singles qualification tournament but for Canada’s Jeremy Hazin the first round of the main event marked the end of his run, falling to Serbia’s Zsolt Peto by a 4-1 score-line (11-4, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 14-12).

On the brink but Serbian duo fight back

Women’s Singles – Round One

Down but not out, Andrea Todorovic and Sabina Surjan will represent the host nation in the second round of the women’s singles event following fine recovery efforts from the Serbian players in their encounters against Italy’s Jamila Laurenti (10-12, 2-11, 11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9) and Spain’s Galia Dvorak (12-10, 3-11, 11-4, 5-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-7).

Andrea Todorovic keeps her cool in difficult situation (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Success on four fronts

Women’s Singles – Round One

Similarly it has been solid start to the proceedings for Hong Kong with four victories to count in the 12.50pm session of play.

Zhu Chengzhu stormed to a 4-0 victory over Russia’s Kristina Kazantseva (11-7, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6) with Ng Wing Nam and Zhang Wenjing also coming through their respective encounters in straight games. Mak Tze Wing is also off to a winning start, beating the host nation’s Tijana Jokic 4-2 (10-12, 11-6, 13-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7).

French stars left smiling

Women’s Singles – Round One

Round one of the women’s singles draw has delivered a favourable start for France with a number of victories for the country to celebrate.

Pauline Chasselin has negotiated her opening round meeting with Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Lavrova across five games (11-4, 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8) while Oceane Guisnel successfully held off a late comeback attempt from Italian opponent Chiara Colantoni (11-6, 12-14, 11-7, 13-11, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9) – Stephanie Loeuillette also progresses.

Caroline Kumahara wins Latin American thriller

Women’s Singles – Round One

Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara and Argentina’s Camila Arguelles have played out an absolute thriller in the opening round of women’s singles action with the former of the two moving through by the narrowest of margins (12-14, 11-8, 13-11, 11-2, 6-11, 7-11, 12-10).

Caroline Kumahara through by narrow margins (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Lev Katsman continues to impress

Under 21 Men’s Singles – Round Two

Frenchman Bastian Rembert and Russia’s Lev Katsman caused major second round upsets. Bastian Rembert, the no.10 seed, accounted for Japan’s Yuta Tanaka, the no.2 seed (11-7, 11-8, 13-11). A qualifier, Lev Katsman beat Hong Kong’s Kwan Man Ho, the no.8 seed (11-6, 3-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9).

Otherwise in the lower half of the draw, the outcomes were as expected with France enjoying more success. Jules Rolland, the no.14 seed, accounted for India’s Snehit Suravajjula (13-11, 11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 11-6). In the one remaining contest, Germany’s Nils Hohmeier, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes of Slovenia’s Peter Hribar, the no.13 seed (11-9, 11-0, 11-4).

Shogo Tahara maintains progress

Under 21 Men’s Singles – Round Two

Japanese qualifier Shogo Tahara maintained his form in the second round. He beat fellow qualifier Russia’s Aleksandr Tiutriumov (12-10, 5-11, 11-3, 10-12, 11-3). Likewise as the round progressed in the top half of the draw there was a further upset. Frenchman, Leo de Nodrest, the no.12 seed, accounted for Belgium’s Florian Cnudde, the no.3 seed (8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-8).

Conversely, for Germany’s Tobias Hippler and England’s Tom Jarvis it was success. Tobias Hippler, the top seed, beat colleague Cedric Meissner (9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5); Tom Jarvis ousted Canada’s Jeremy Hazin (11-7, 9-11, 11-2, 11-5).

Leo de Nodrest caused a major upset by beating Florian Cnudde (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Kristina Kazantseva in form

Under 21 Women’s Singles – Round One

Russia’s Kristina Kazantseva caused the biggest upset in the opening round; she beat Spain’s Zhang Sofia-Xuan, the no.2 seed (9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5).

Impressive, the young lady who will celebrate her 18th birthday this coming Sunday was not alone in causing upsets; in addition Japan’s Moe Nomura beat Hong Kong’s Liu Qi, the no.6 seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-8), the host nation’s Sabina Surjan accounted for Slovenia’s Ana Tofant, the no.7 seed (11-3, 11-7, 11-6)

French duo excel

Under 21 Women’s Singles – Round One

The French duo of Audrey Zarif and Oceane Guisnel both emerged successful in the opening contests as expected. Audrey Zarif beat Slovakia’s Natalia Grigelova (15-13, 11-4, 11-7), Oceane Guisnel, the no.3 seed, overcame Croatia’s Hana Arapovic (11-9, 12-10, 11-6).

Success for France but not unexpectedly there was defeat; Leili Mostafavi was beaten by Russia’s Maria Malanina, the no.4 seed (11-8, 12-10, 11-3).

A successful start for Audrey Zarif (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Surprises continue

Under 21 Men’s Singles

Upsets continued as the opening round concluded again Russia was in evidence. Lev Katsman beat Germany’s Gerritt Engeman, the no.9 seed (11-6, 13-11, 11-9), India’s Snehit Suravajjula accounted for Egypt’s Mahmoud Helmy, the no.6 seed (11-7, 11-8, 12-10).

However, for the leading names in the lower half of the draw there was success. Japan’s Yuta Tanaka, the no.2 seed, beat Romania’s Bogdan Singeorzan (11-2, 11-8, 11-6), Germany’s Nils Hohmeier, the no.4 seed, defeated the host nation’s Dimitrije Levajac (11-7, 11-8, 11-9).

Early upsets

Under 21 Men’s Singles – Round One

Germany’s Cedric Meissner, Canada’s Jeremy Hazin, Russia’s Aleksandr Tiutriumov and Japan’s Shogo Tahara caused upsets as the open round commenced.

All required to qualify, Cedric Meissner beat Italy’s Chen Shuainan, the no.11 seed (8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9), Jeremy Hazin accounted for Serbia’s Aleksa Gacev, the no.16 seed (11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 12-10). Likewise,, Shogo Tahara overcame Montenegro’s Filip Radovic, the no. 15 seed but the biggest upset was caused by Aleksandr Tiutriumov. He ended the hopes of Japan’s Kakeru Sone, the no.7 seed (11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 12-10).

Upsets not for the most prominent names; Germany’s Tobias Hippler, the top seed, beat Slovakia’s Jakub Zelinka (11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7), Belgium’s Florian Cnudde, the no.3 seed, halted the progress of Slovenia’s Tilen Cvetko (11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 9-11, 11-5).

Shogo Tahara, the good form continues (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)



Challenge Series 2019 Seamaster Serbia Open Belgrade

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