09 Aug 2019

Qualifiers trying to make a mark, seeded players aiming to establish authority and seven events on the schedule, to say the least, on Friday 9th August, in the Sir Molade Okoya Thomas Indoor Sports Hall in Lagos, at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open, it was a day full of action

In the majority, the very elite names prevailed but there casualties and some anxious moments for those with eyes on a podium place.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Most certainly for the crowd there was plenty of action.

Men’s Singles

…………Disappointment for Belgium’s Devos family; in round two Laurens came within a hair’s breadth of beating the host nation’s Quadri Aruna, the top seed (10-12, 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5); elder brother Robin was the biggest casualty, the no.6 seed he was beaten by Romania’s Rares Sipos, the no.20 seed (12-10, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-3).

…………The top four names all booked third round places; alongside Quadri Aruna, Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck, Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic and Austria’s Robert Gardos progressed.

…………Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw underlined the fact that he is a major challenger for honours; in the second round he accounted for Frenchman, Andrieu Landrieu, the no.9 seed (9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 12-10).

Women’s Singles

…………Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova, the top seed, made an emphatic start to her campaign; she beat Nigeria’s Rofiat Jimoh in straight games (11-3, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5).

………..Russia’s Polina Mikhailova, the no.2 seed and Yana Noskova, the no.4 seed, commenced in style. Polina Mikhailova accounted for Nigeria’s Fatima Bello (11-4, 14-12, 11-7, 11-4); Yana Noskova overcame Egypt’s Sarah Abousetta (11-7, 11-6, 11-5, 11-2).

………..Recent winner of the ITTF-Africa Cup, Dina Meshref, the no.4 seed, opened her account by beating Nigeria’s Cecilia Akpan (14-12, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3); conversely for cousin, Yousra Helmy, it was defeat. She was the biggest name to fall in the opening round; the no.10 seed, she was beaten by Croatia’s Ida Jazbec (7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-2, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5).

Men’s Doubles

…………The top seeded combination of Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck and Frenchman Quentin Robinot made the ideal start; they accounted for Congo Democratic’s Gedeon Kassa and Christian Mbonga (11-4, 11-5, 11-7).

…………Nigeria’s Bode Abiodun and Taiwo Mati caused the biggest upset in the opening round; they beat Germany’s Steffen Mengel and Kilian Ort, the no.4 seeds (9-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7).

Women’s Doubles

…………Russia’s Polina Mikhailova and Yana Noskova, the no.2 seeds, survived a scare; they needed the full five games to end the hpes of India’s Sreeja Akula and Diya Parag Chitale (11-4, 4-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8).

…………Nigeria’s Funmiola and Fatimo Bello caused the biggest seeding upset; they overcame South Africa’s Simeen Mookrey and Danisha Patel, the no.5 seeds (15-13, 11-2, 11-9).

Mixed Doubles

…………The host nation’s venerable duo of Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike, the top seeds, experienced a quarter-final defeat; they suffered at the hands of Germany’s Kilian Ort and Wan Yuan (11-4, 11-1, 13-11).

…………Likewise, Egypt’s Khalid Assar and Yousra Helmy, the no.2 seeds, departed in the quarter-final round; they were beaten by Luxemburg’s Eric Glod and Sarah de Nutte (11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6).

Under 21 Men’s Singles

…………Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Iran’s Amir Hossein Hadaei meet in the final.

…………At the semi-final stage, Cristian Pletea, the no.4 seed, beat Romanian colleague, Rares Sipos, the top seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-5); Amir Hossein Hadaei accounted for Belgium’s Laurens Devos (8-11, 11-8, 5-11, 12-10, 13-11).

Under 21 Women’s Singles

…………Belgium’s Lisa Lung and Romania’s Andreea meet to decide the title.

…………In the penultimate round, Lisa Lung , the top seed, overcame Egypt’s Marian Alhodaby, the no.3 seed, in straight games (11-4, 11-7, 11-8); Andreea Dragoman ended the hopes of India’s Sreeja Akula, the no.2 seed (11-6, 11-5, 14-12).

Challenge Series Barbora Balazova

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Day 3 - 2019 iTTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open