07 Aug 2019

The opening day of play, Wednesday 7th August, at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open in Lagos concluded, the players to attract the attention were the host nation’s Rashidat Ogundele and Egypt’s Marwa Alhodaby.

Contrary to expectations, in the group stage of the women’s singles event, both ended the day unbeaten. First places in their respective groups and thus passports to the main draw were secured.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In the men’s singles event, the players finishing in first position in each of the 20 groups qualify for the main draw; those in second places progress to a preliminary round. The 10 preliminary round winners plus two “Lucky Losers”, drawn at random from that round, join the 32 seeds in a first round of 64 players.

Rather differently, in the women’s singles competition, the players finishing in first position in each group plus one “Lucky Loser”, drawn at random from the second placed players, join the 16 seeds in an opening round of 32 players.

Meanwhile, there are four seeded players in each of the under 21 men’s singles and under 21 women’s singles events, in the former players finishing in first place in each of the four groups advance to the quarter-finals; in the latter players concluding matters in top spot in each of the three groups, plus one “Lucky Loser” drawn at random from the second placed, players progress.

Men’s Singles

…………Israel’s Michael Tauber, the second highest rated player on first stage duty experienced a testing time in his one and only match on the opening day of play. He needed the full five games to beat Nigeria’s Abiodun Adegoke (12-10, 8-11, 12-10, 11-13, 11-7).

…………The host nation’s Azeez Jamiu emerged the one player to be assured of progress to the main draw; after receiving a walk-over against Congo Democratic’s Steve Ngoma, he accounted for colleague, Azeez Jamiu (8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10) to seal first place.

Women’s Singles

…………After accounting for compatriot, Fatima Kazeem (9-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, 11-5), Rashidat Ogundele beat Algeria’s Lynda Loghraibi, the highest rated player on qualification stage duty (11-8, 11-4, 5-11, 7-11, 11-1) to secure top spot.

………… Marwa Alhodaby was in outstanding form, the lowest rated player in her group, she beat both Nigeria’s Oluwafunke Hassan (11-3, 11-3, 11-5) and South Africa’s Danisha Patel (11-5, 11-8, 11-6) in imperious fashion.

Under 21 Men’s Singles

…………Gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Belgium’s Laurens Devos, the leading name on qualification duty, made a most positive start; he beat Congo Brazzaville’s Christian Mbongia in three straight games (11-7, 11-3, 11-2).

Under 21 Women’s Singles

…………Bronze medallist at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, the top name in first phase action, Romania’s Andreea Dragoman showed no charity, she beat Nigeria’s Esther Oribamise in style (11-8, 11-1, 11-5).

Challenge Series 2019 Nigeria Open Marwa Alhodaby Rashidat Ogundele

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Day 3 - 2019 iTTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open