Tournaments

04 May 2019

Follow the latest updates from the second day of play, Saturday 4th May, at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Serbia Open in Belgrade.

The under 21 men's singles and under 21 women's singles titles will be decided; the men's doubles and women's doubles finalists known as well as the men's singles and women's singles semi-finalists.

Serbian hopes alive

Men’s Doubles: Semi-Finals

The no.8 seeds, Marko Jevtovic and Zsolt Peto beat qualifiers, the combination of Hungary’s Bence Majoros and Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen (11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6) to make sure that on the concluding day of play, the host nation will be represented.

“I said on the first day of competition that I believed we could reach the final. We are playing on our home soil. We do not think about our rivals in the final. We will do our best to win in front of our fans , families and friends.” Marko Jevtovic

In the final they meet Portuguese qualifiers Diogo Carvalho and João Geraldo, the shock penultimate round winners in opposition to Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, the top seeds (12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 16-14).

Top pairs reach final

Women’s Doubles: Semi-Finals

The respective top two pairs in the women’s doubles event both emerged successful in the penultimate round.

Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the top seeds, beat Spain’s Galia Dvorak and Zhang Sofia-Xuan (11-6, 11-8, 11-7); Hungary Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, the no.2 seeds, overcame Serbia’s Izabela Lupulesku and Sabina Surjan (11-7, 11-3, 13-15, 14-12).

Szandra Pergel through to the women’s doubles final in partnership with Dora Madarasz (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
New heights for Puerto Rico

Men’s Singles Semi-Final

At the recent Liebherr 2019 World Championships, Adriana Diaz set new standards for Puerto Rico by reaching the third round of the women’s singles event. One week later in Belgrade Brian Afanador emulated his cousin by becoming the first from the Caribbean island to progress to the semi-final round of a men’s singles event at either an ITTF Challenge series or ITTF World Tour tournament. The no.19 seed, he beat Japanese qualifier, Yuta Tanaka in five games (11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8).

“I think that my match was very intense. Tactically I played very well and this was crucial for my victory. Salifou is my good friend, I practise with him. We will do our best in this semi-final; I am sure it will be a very good match.” Brian Afanador

In the penultimate round, Brian Afanador opposes Frenchman, Abdel-Kader Salifou, the quarter-final winner in opposition to fellow qualifier Russia’s Lev Katsman (11-6, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5).

“I played unbelievable matches today, I played very well. I am happy that I am in the semi-final but as I have said I will go step by step. I will do my best in tomorrow’s semi-final; only after that match will I think about the next step.” Abdel-Kader Salifou

Paul Drinkhall avenges colleague’s defeat

Men’s Singles: Semi-Final

A shock opening round win against England’s Sam Walker, the no.5 seed (11-4, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10), the adventures of Japan’s Shogo Tahara came to an end as Paul Drinkhall, the no.12 seed, avenged his compatriot’s defeat. He prevailed in five games (11-2, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7).

“It was my very good match. I did what I wanted to do. There were times he managed to stop me for a moment. I stayed focused, thinking only about my game. I think I did it quite well to finally win.” Paul Drinkhall

In the penultimate round, Paul Drinkhall faces Frenchman Andrea Landrieu, the no.21 seed, the quarter-final winner in opposition to Frane Kojic, the no.16 seed (11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7).

“It was really intense match. In the beginning he didn’t play so well, he was passive, so I just had to put a ball on a table to earn my points. In third game he started aggressively He hit the ball pretty hard, so I had to be more defensive and smart to finish this match in my favour. Paul Drinkhall is great player we have never played each other before. I will try my best to win in this match and to qualify for the final.” Andrea Landrieu

Andrea Landrieu beat Yuki Matsuyama to book his quarter-final place (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Milestone for Barbora Balazova

Women’s Singles: Semi-Finals

Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova, the no.4 seed, beat Russian qualifier, Anna Bikbaeva (11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5) to reserve her place in a women’s singles semi-final at either a Challenge series or ITTF World Tour tournament for the first time in her career.

“I am very pleased I am playing in a semi-final for the first time. I am pleased that I managed to keep my nerve. My match was easier than I expected. I was focused 100 per cent in this match but I still don’t think my game was perfect. I really took care to stay focused mentally and to take my chances. It was difficult because she played with very good spin. She pushed me to play from my backhand and I made many mistakes. I had to find a solution to attack. I had to find the right solution to return her spin and serves, when I found the solution I was able to win the match.” Barbora Balazova.

At the semi-final stage Barbora Balazova meets Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.2 seed; at the quarter-final stage she ousted Italy’s Li Xiang, the no.7 seed (11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6).

Polina Mikhailova upsets seeding

Women’s Singles: Semi-Finals

The no.5 seed, Russia’s Polina Mikhailova upset the order of merit to claim her place in the women’s singles semi-finals; she beat Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam, the no.3 seed, in a most exacting seven games contest (11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5).

In the penultimate round she faces Japan’s Hina Hayata, the top seed; in her round of last eight engagement, she accounted for Hungary’s Szandra Pergel, the no.7 seed (6-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-1, 11-3).

“I am happy how I played in this match. My opponent from Hungary is a very good player; as I said from the beginning of this tournament, I will go step by step, but my goal here is to win.” Hina Hayata

The defensive skills of Polina Mikhailova proved too secure for Ng Wing Nam (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Landmark win for Maria Malanina

Under 21 Women’s Singles: Final

Russia’s Maria Malanina, the no.4 seed, beat Hong Kong’s Mak Tze Wing, the no.8 seed, to secure the top prize; she prevailed in three straight games (11-5, 11-7, 11-8) and thus claimed her first ever such title.

“It is my first win and medal in a senior tournament. The final match was very difficult for me, she is very good player. I did my best. I am proud, I hope this is the first win for me, not the last!” Maria Malanina

Successful venture for Leo de Nodrest

Under 21 Men’s Singles: Final

The qualification stage of the men’s singles event negotiated before experiencing a first round exit at the hands of England’s Paul Drinkhall. Similarly in partnership with colleague Jules Rolland progress through the men’s doubles preliminary rounds, prior to suffering at the hands of Serbia’s Marko Jevtovic and Zsolt Peto; Leo de Nodrest brought matters to a successful conclusion on the penultimate day of play.

Occupying the no.12 seeded position, he beat French colleague, Bastien Rembert, the no.10 seed, to arrest the under 21 men’s singles title. He prevailed in straight games (11-2, 12-10, 11-4).

“All events in the tournament have been quite good to me. I won under 21, played in the main draw of the seniors and also in doubles. I have felt very good in Belgrade. I will remember for the good matches and this win. In the final I played against my friend with whom I shared a room during tournaments, we are from the same city. We know each other very well, today I won.” Leo de Nodrest

Leo de Nodrest, the under 21 men’s singles champion (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
More host nation success

Men’s Doubles: Quarter-Finals

Partners for well over a decade, notably together at the second ever World Junior Championships, staged in 2004 in Kobe; Serbia’s Marko Jevtovic and Zsolt Peto flew the flag at the quarter-final stage of the men’s doubles event. The no.8 seeds, they caused a major upset, they beat Belgium’s Martin Allegro and Florent Lambiet, the no.2 seeds (6-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9).

In the penultimate round they face the combination of Hungary’s Bence Majoros and Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen; qualifiers they received a walk-over when due to face Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador and Daniel Gonzalez, the no.6 seeds.

Notably, in the adjacent half of the draw Hungary is also represented. In the quarter-final round Nandor Eczeki and Adam Szudi, the top seeds, oppose qualifiers, Portugal’s Diogo Carvalho and João Geraldo. At the quarter-final stage, Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi beat Russian qualifiers Viacheslav Burov and Sadi Ismailov 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-3); Diogo Carvalho and João Geraldo ended the hopes of the combination formed by Italy’s Chen Shuainan andHong Kong’s La Sioi Hang (11-8, 13-11, 1–16, 11-6)/

Serbian success

Women’s Doubles: Quarter-Finals

The host nation’s Izabela Lupulesku and Sabina Surjan caused the one quarter-final upset; the no.8 seeds, the beat Pauline Chasselin and Stéphanie Loeuillette of France, the no.3 seed (15-13, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7).

At the semi-final stage they meet Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, the no.2 seeds who likewise caused France pain, they accounted for Laura Pfeffer and Audrey Zarif (11-5, 11-8, 11-5).

In the opposite half of the draw, Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the top seeds, confront Spain’s Galia Dvorak and Zhang Sofia-Xuan, the no.4 seeds. In the quarter-final round Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam accounted for colleagues Li Ching Wan and Zhu Chengzhu (11-7, 5-11, 17-15, 11-9); Galia Dvorak and Zhang Sofia-Xuan ended the hopes of Argentina’s Camila Arguelles and Ana Codina, the no.6 seeds (11-8, 8-11, 12-14, 11-2, 11-9).

Sabina Surjan partnered Izabela Lupulesku to women’s doubles quarter-final success (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
French progress

Under 21 Men’s Singles: Semi-Finals

Leo de Nodrest and Bastien Rembert emerged successful in their semi-final encounters to guarantee France the top step of the podium.

Bastien Rembert, the no.10 seed, beat in form qualifier, Russia’s Lev Katsman (9-11, 11-3, 3-11, 11-5, 11-7); Leo de Nodrest, the no.12 seed, ended the hopes of England’s Tom Jarvis, the no.5 seed (11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 11-4, 11-8).

Semi-final upsets

Under 21 Women’s Singles: Semi-Finals

Russia’s Maria Malanina and Hong Kong’s Mak Tze Wing upset the status quo at the semi-final stage.

Maria Malanina, the top seed, beat Audrey Zarif of France, the no.4 seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-7); Mak Tze Wing, the no.8 seed, overcame Hungary’s Leonie Hartbricht, the no.5 seed (11-5, 9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7).

Mak Tze Wing beat Leonie Hartbricht to book her place in the under 21 women’s singles final (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Lev Katsman outstanding, causes major upset

Men’s Singles – Round Three

Puerto Rico’s 22 year old Brian Afanador impressed; the no.19 seed, he beat Hungary’s Adam Szudi, the no.26 seed (11-3, 7-11, 11-5, 10-12, 6-11, 14-12, 11-8). However, his splendid efforts could match those of Russia’s 18 years of age Lev Katsman.

A qualifier, he caused a major upset. He accounted for Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar, the no.2 seed and the man in form, the previous week having reached the fourth round at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships. Lev Katsman prevailed in five games (11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9).

“I am so happy with my performance, I believed that I could win this match. I was playing amazing today, like yesterday. I kept my tactics; I’ll go on like this as long as I can

Japanese qualifiers progress

Men’s Singles – Round Three

Japan’s Shogo Tahara and Yuta Tanaka maintained their outstanding form; in the third round both beat fellow qualifiers.

Shogo Tahara overcame India’s Harmeet Desai (11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9) to book his quarter-final place. Similarly, Yuta Tanaka defeated Viachaslev Burov (11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8).

Yuta Tanaka who beat Viachaslev Burov (Photo: Robert Valai)
Frenchmen in form

Men’s Singles – Round Three

France enjoyed success; both Andrea Landrieu and Abdel-Kader Salifoub booked quarter-final places. Abdrea Landrieu, the no.21 seed, beat Japan’s Yuka Matsuyama, the no.28 seed (9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-13, 11-13, 11-7); qualifier Abdel-Kader Salifou overcame Portugal’s Diogo Carvalho, the no.15 seed (11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 14-12).

“It was more difficult then yesterday. I won first game, after that he started to play well, I had some problems with receiving his service. I had to make some changes in my tactics, I just fought for the win.” Abdel-Kader Salifou

Top seed falls

Men’s Singles – Round Three

A hard fought seven games encounter, England’s Paul Drinkhall, the no.12 seed, recovered from a 3-2 deficit to beat Austria’s Stefan Fegerl, the top seed (11-7, 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 2-11, 11-5, 11-6).

“I am satisfied with my win against Fegerl. I played well, the fifth games was somewhat of a crisis but after that I played much better, I had a bit of luck. I came her to play every match to win and I intend to do that as long as I can.” Paul Drinkhall

Stefan Fegerl beaten by Paul Drinkhall (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Anna Bikbaeva maintains form

Women’s Singles – Round Three

Required to qualify Russia’s Anna Bikbaeva continued her outstanding run of form; she beat Hungary’s Dora Madarasz, the no.9 seed (11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5) to reserve her quarter-final place.

Alas for India’s Krittwika Roy, also a qualifier, it was the end of the road; despite a spirited recovery, she was beaten by Szandra Pergel, the no.7 seed (11-7, 11-1, 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5).

Mentally strong

Women’s Singles – Round Three

Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.2 seed, booked her quarter-final place courtesy of success against Japan’s Sakura Mori, the no.15 seed (7-11, 13-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7) in a round that witnessed a more than satisfactory outcome for Hong Kong.

“I feel pretty satisfied with my performance. My body condition is not in top form but I was mentally very strong. I just finished the World Championships. I think that I am better tactically from day to day.” Minnie Soo Wai Yam

Zhu Chengzhu, the no.28 seed, suffered at the hands of Russia’s Polina Mikhailova (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6); however, Ng Wing Nam, the no.3 seed, overcame Stéphanie Loueillette of France, the no.10 seed (15-13, 11-9, 10-12, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6).

“When I led 2-0, I thought I had opportunities to finish the match. I was little bit too relaxed and I lost next two game. She had a pretty good service and I had to adapt my game. I became more effective in returning her service; finally won this match.” Ng Wing Nam

Ng Wing Nam now faces Polina Mikhailova in the quarter-finals in a quest to restore Hong Kong honour; Minne Soo Wai Yam opposes Italy’s Li Xiang, the no.17 seed. In round three she beat Audrey Zarif of France, the no.20 seed (11-4, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8).

Minnie Soo Wai Yam beat Sakura Mori to book her main draw place (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Eyes on the prize

Women’s Singles – Round Three

The hot favourite to lift the women’s singles trophy in Belgrade, Hina Hayata took another step in the right direction on her quest for silverware as she overcame fellow Japanese compatriot Airi Abe across five games (11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-6).

“I am glad that I won this match. I never played against Abe before so I had to adapt my game through this match. My plan is to take it step by step until the end…” Hina Hayata

No drama for Slovakian star

Women’s Singles – Round Three

A major contender for women’s singles success in Belgrade the Slovak Republic’s Barbora Balazova has extended her stay in the competition, producing a fine 4-0 victory over Hong Kong’s Zhang Wenjing (13-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6).

“I am glad that my match went quite well. I prepared for this match, especially from a mental aspect, because I hadn’t played against her before; I watched some videos of her games. I had to adapt myself for her game and I did so successfully!” Barbora Balazova

Barbora Balazova advances (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Latin American hopes take serious hit but hope remains

Men’s Doubles – Round One

Three pairs consisting of players from Latin America suffered elimination at the opening hurdle of the men’s doubles but there is still a glimmer of hope for the continent with the Puerto Rican duo of Brian Afanador and Daniel Gonzalez prevailing in their encounter against Sweden’s Simon Arvidsson and Elias Ranefur (11-4, 11-6, 11-7).

Hong Kong qualifiers stay on course

Women’s Doubles – Round One

Unseeded and required to compete in qualification action, Hong Kong’s Li Ching Wan and Zhu Chengzhu are through to the last eight of the women’s doubles draw after posting a 3-1 win over no.5 seeds Bernadett Balint and Mercedes Nagyvaradi (11-2, 1-11, 11-8, 11-6).

There was also success for Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, who accounted for Italy’s Li Xiang and Russia’s Polina Mikhailova in a five-game thriller (7-11, 17-15, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4).

“I am playing with my colleague from national team, we are the number one seeds, and we will try to win this tournament.” Minnie Soo Wai Yam

Tom Jarvis sinks top seed

Under 21 Men’s Singles – Quarter-Finals

The top seed of the Under 21 men’s singles event, Tobias Hippler has fallen at the quarter-finals stage of play in Belgrade with the German competitor losing out to England’s Tom Jarvis, seeded fifth, by a convincing 3-0 margin (11-8, 11-5, 11-7).

Impressive win for Tom Jarvis (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Home favourite falls

Under 21 Women’s Singles – Quarter-Finals

One of Serbia’s leading names but Sabina Surjan has missed out on a spot in the Under 21 women’s singles semi-finals, falling to fourth seeded Russian opponent Maria Malanina in straight games (11-6, 11-3, 11-9).

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Challenge Series 2019 Seamaster Serbia Open Belgrade
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