15 Aug 2019

Follow all the thrills and spills from the first day of qualification action, Tuesday 13th August, in Panagyurishte as the race for main draw positions at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open begins:

Koki Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura are out!

Men’s Doubles: Preliminary Round One

Would you believe it? Koki Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura have been eliminated from the men’s doubles competition at the first qualification hurdle in Panagyurishte!

The pair responsible for the Japanese combination’s downfall was that of China’s Zhao Zihao and Zhu Linfeng, who needed just three games to claim a sensational victory (11-4, 11-5, 11-8).

Host nation duo suffer defeat

Women’s Doubles: Preliminary Round One

Kalina Hristova and Ivet Ilieva’s dream of representing the host nation in the main event won’t be fulfilled after the Bulgarian pair were bested by Portugal’s Rita Fins and Shao Jieni across four games (11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6).

In the other women’s doubles contest it was the Hungarian team of Mercedes Nagyvaradi and Georgina Pota who emerged victorious at the expense of Singapore’s Goi Rui Xuan and Wong Xin Ru (11-9, 11-7, 11-9).

Ivet Ilieva (pictured) and partner Kalina Hristova miss out in race for women’s doubles main draw (Photo: Chris Petkov)
Difficult start but Chinese pair come good

Women’s Doubles: Preliminary Round One

China’s Gu Yuting and Mu Zi found life difficult in the opening stages of their opening women’s doubles encounter against Belgium’s Nathalie Marchetti and Iran’s Maryam Samet, requiring a mini comeback to negotiate the mixed association combination (8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4).

French teenager impresses

Men’s Singles: Preliminary Round Two

Irvin Bertrand has secured a big upset in the second preliminary round of men’s singles qualification – the 19-year-old French representative met Niagol Stoyanov in a tricky affair but despite falling behind early in the match it was Bertrand who held the upper hand, beating the Italian, 13 years his senior, in five games (10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 14-12, 11-8).

French teenager Irvin Bertrand still in the hunt (Photo: Chris Petkov)
Cho Daeseong edges thriller

Men’s Singles: Preliminary Round Two

Spectators in Panagyurishte have been treated to an epic seven-game clash in the 5.10pm session of play as Korea Republic’s Cho Daeseong fought back from two games down to beat Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura (8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6).

However, surely the comeback of the session came courtesy of Tomas Konecny with the Czech player recovering from a 0-3 deficit to see off Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Hung-Chieh by a 4-3 margin (7-11, 8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6).

Slovenian star stunned

Men’s Singles: Preliminary Round Two

One of the main contenders for a spot in the main draw but Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic is officially out of the running after suffering a shock 4-2 defeat at the hands of Turkey’s Ibrahim Gunduz (5-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8).

Elsewhere, there was a moment of disappointment for the home fans in Panagyurishte as Stefan Todorov was overwhelmed by Italian counterpart Leonardo Mutti (11-3, 11-9, 11-5, 11-3).

Not to be for Stefan Todorov (Photo: Chris Petkov)
Fegerl prevails where fellow Austrians fall short

Men’s Singles: Preliminary Round Two

Out of the three Austrian competitors taking part in the 3.30pm session of men’s singles action only one came away with a victory to their name.

Stefan Fegerl needed just four games to get the job done against Spanish opponent Carlos Franco (11-4, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6), but the news wasn’t so pleasant for Andreas Levenko and David Serdaroglu who lost out to Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin and Spain’s Alvaro Robles respectively.

Dang makes a statement

Men’s Singles: Preliminary Round Two

Germany’s Qiu Dang set off a laud noise in the crowd when he defeated Bastien Rembert in straight games (11-6, 13-11, 11-6, 11-9).

The Frenchman was in good form last week in Lagos, but was blown away by Dang’s superb performance in Panagyurishte. Meanwhile, China’s Zheng Peifeng beat Lithuania’s Medardas Stankevicius (7-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4).

Qiu Dang caused a notable upset by beating Bastien Rembert (Photo: Alex Lomaev – Butterfly)
The Freight train is here

Men’s Singles: Preliminary Round One

Portuguese star, Marcos Freitas took no time to announce his arrival in Panagyurishte, with a straight games win over Ukrainian Viktor Yefimov.

It was a powerful performance by Freitas, pushing Yefimov into critical forehand errors with strong services and returns. The entire match was quickly wrapped up by the Portuguese, in under 22 minutes (11-4, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4)!

No tense moments for Marcos Freitas. (Photo: Rémy Gros)
European thriller on day one

Women’s Singles: Preliminary Round One

The quality of table tennis today in Bulgaria is at an all time high, as France’s Pauline Chasselin was involved in a seven game thriller with Romania’s Andreea Dragoman.

In a complete pendulum match, with each athlete winning alternating games, this was a delight for the fans. The decider was arguably the fastest of the games, as Dragoman continued her good form from Nigeria last week to claim a huge win (3-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 11-5).

Calm, composed and clinical Andreea Dragoman.
Chinese women display class

Women’s Singles: Preliminary Round One

It was an almighty show of class as China’s Zhang Qiang and Fan Siqi blew their opponents away by the exact same score-line of 4-1.

Zhang took no prisoners against Singaporean Zeng Jian, despite dropping a game which needed Zeng’s full strength to win. Over to Fan: she brushed aside losing the first game to Linda Bergstrom and won four straight games to see off the Sweden international.

Zhang Qiang was imperious in qualifying. (Photo: Ireneusz Kanabrodzki)  
Liu cruises through

Women’s Singles: Preliminary Round One

China’s Liu Weishan had no trouble going past Romanian Daniela Monteiro Dodean as the experienced Asian player won 4-1 (11-8, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6).

On Table 2 it was sad news for the home crowd as Bulgarian Kalina Hristova lost out to Russian Valeria Shcherbatykh by the same score-line (11-6, 11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 11-0).

Liu Weishan was in the mood in Panagyurishte. 
Xiao cannot best Mu

Women’s Singles: Preliminary Round One

Spain’s Maria Xiao was unable to take down the impressive Chinese Mu Zi as the two women fought it out in a deeply engaging match.

Xiao took the early lead and looked on course to take the match, but Zi hit back with three straight games. With momentum on her side, there was little the Spaniard could do to stop her (5-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6).

Not a good day for Spanish Maria Xiao. 
Tanaka follows suit

Men’s Singles: Preliminary Round One

Japan’s Yuta Tanaka quickly followed his Asian compatriots into Round Two as he saw off Serbia’s Dimitrije Levajac in a swift 4-0 win (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9).

Levajac had no time to settle during the match, as his Asian opponent kept up the pressure throughout. His Serbian compatriot Marko Jevtovic however, came through a test versus Ukraine’s Anton Limonov as he won 4-1 (11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9).

Yuta Tanaka of Japan progress with ease. 
Rabinot starts big

Men’s Singles: Preliminary Round One

Quentin Rabinot picked up where he left off last week in Nigeria, as he blazed through his match against Uzbekistan’s Elmurod Kholikov.

With powerful forehands on show, Frenchman Rabinot had no time in reaching a 4-0 scoreline (11-6, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6). Meanwhile,  China’s Ma Te and Zhu Linfeng also claimed straightforward wins.

Action commences!

Here’s the schedule for day one of the qualification tournament in Panagyurishte:

World Tour 2019 Asarel Bulgaria Open Panagyurishte

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Day 4 - 2019 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open

Match Highlights