12 Sep 2019

Places in the main draw of the men’s singles event for Gaston Alto, Nicolas Galvano, Martin Bentancor and Alexis Orencel; for Argentina on Wednesday 11th September it was a profitable concluding day of qualification at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Paraguay Open in Asuncion.

They joined colleague, Horacio Cifuentes in the main draw.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Creditable progress, the member of the quartet to impress the most being Martin Bentancor; he finished in second position in his group, before securing his reservation in the knock-out stage by ousting the host nation’s Axel Gavilan (11-3, 11-8, 11-1, 9-11, 11-5).

An impressive performance from the Argentine but it was in defeat that he was arguably more impressive. In a his closing group stage match he was beaten by Romania’s Cristian Pletea, the highest rated player on duty in the qualification phase and a young man in form. At the recent ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc, Cristian Pletea had beaten Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the top seed, in the opening round. In Asuncion Martin Bentancor extended the Romanian the full five games distance (12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6).

Almost an upset; in the under 21 men’s singles event, he did cause an upset; he accounted for the no.4 seed, Chile’s Nicolas Burgos (12-10, 8-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-7) to end play unbeaten and in top spot in the group.

Go for youth

Currently, select the team for Argentina, the names of Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes would be first choices but who would be next?

Do you select the now 41 year old lawyer Pablo Tabachnik, or do you plump for youth? Go for the young man born this century, go for 19 year old Martin Bentancor, the player with a liking for Asuncion. In 2017 he reached the semi-final stage of the junior boys’ singles event at the Paraguay Junior and Cadet Open, the following year he was a quarter-finalist.

Equally, at the Pan American Junior Championships in 2016 he was a boys’ singles semi-finalist, last year a quarter-finalist; also in 2017 he advanced to the penultimate round of the under 21 men’s singles event at the South American Championships. Furthermore, you can add the fact that he was Argentina’s representative at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Crucial years

Now the results may not be mind-blowing but do the efforts of Martin Bentancor suggest that he is making progress at the right time, the crucial years when junior days have finished.

India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta, never really shone at junior level and neither did Sweden’s Peter Karlsson who became European champion, nor Austria’s Werner Schlager who ascended to the greatest heights to clinch the men’s singles title at the World Championships.

Do those examples bode well for Martin Bentancor, progressing when life becomes tough, a future Latin American or Pan American champion? Note the name.

Challenge Series 2019 Paraguay Open Martin Bentancr

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Day 3 - 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Paraguay Open