18 Oct 2019

The runner up in Australia, the winner on home soil; Chinese Taipei’s Tai Ming-Wei has enjoyed notable success on this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit.

On Thursday 17th October, in Wladyslawowo he was very much the player to attract the attention as the qualification stage of the men’s singles event to gain places in the 2019 ITTF Challenge Polish Open came to a close.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Contrary to status, first place in his initial phase group and thus progress to the main draw was secured.

After, on the opening day of action accounting for Venezuela’s Jan Medina (11-7, 11-4, 11-7), he beat Slovakia’s Alexander Valuch (13-11, 13-15, 11-8, 11-4), the highest rated player in his group and the third highest ranked on initial phase duty.

Success in the men’s singles event, in addition Tai Ming-Wei enjoyed notable success in the under 21 men’s singles competition. He beat England’s Tom Jarvis, the no.8 seed (3-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-9).

Surprises plentiful

Disappointment for Tom Jarvis but not in the men’s singles event where he was the leading player on duty. Alongside other prominent names in the guise of Russia’s Sadi Ismailov and Luxembourg’s Luka Mladenovic, the day ended without defeat and thus group top spot.

However, there were no shortages of surprise first places and thus direct progress to the main draw. Belgium’s Adrien Rassenfosse, Luxembourg’s Christian Kill and Giorgis Konstantinopoulos of Greece, alongside China’s Yu Heyi, Italy’s Chen Shuainan and Japan’s Hiroto Shinozuka all progressed contrary to expectations, as did Zhang Kai of the United States.

Meanwhile, in a similar vein against the odds Japan’s Jo Yokotani and Yuma Tanigaki, as well as Korea Republic’s Park Chenhyeok and Baek Kwangil secured first positions in their respective groups, before emerging successful in the preliminary round to reserve their main draw places. Likewise, China’s Xu Haidong and the Czech Republic’s Jiri Martinko progressed by the same route contrary to predictions.

Unexpected first places

Similarly, in the women’s singles events there were surprise first positions and thus main draw reservations.

Konstantina Paridi of Greece excelled to secure top spot in her group contrary to expectations as did Slovenia’s Ana Tofant, Singapore’s Goi Rui Xuan, Norway’s Ma Wenting and Spain’s Ana Garcia.

In a similar vein it was somewhat surprise first positions for Turkey’s Sibel Altinkaya and Laura Pfefer of France. Direct progress to the main draw; in the one preliminary round match needed, Marie Migot, also from France beat Singapore’s Zhou Jingyi (12-10, 11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 11-4).

Notably, China’s Zhang Qiang, the leading name on women’s singles qualification duty, alongside Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova, the fourth highest, duly secured group first; alas for Daria Trigolos of Belarus and Argentina’s Camila Arguelles, the players sandwiched in between, it was farewell on the opening day.

Notable performances

Imposing performances, it was the same in the under 21 men’s singles and under 21 women’s events as matters advanced towards the quarter-final round.

In the former Nicholas Tio of the United States and Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki were the players to catch the eye. Nicholas Tio secured a third round win against Iran’s Amin Ahmadian (5-11, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 13-11), a player very much in form; one round earlier he had ousted Russia’s Denis Ivonin, the top seed (4-11, 11-3, 11-8, 4-11, 11-7).

Outstanding from Nicholas Tio, it was the same from Samuel Kulczycki; he overcame India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, the no.2 seed, to reserve his last eight place.

Seeded players fall

Notably of the seeded players, Frenchman Bastien Rembert, Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin and Germany’s Tobias Hippler advanced to the quarter-finals but the unexpected names outweighed the expected. In addition to Nicholas Tio, Samuel Kulczycki and Tai Ming-Wei, China’s Xiang Peng and Irvin Bertrand, like Bastien Rembert, also from France, progressed to the quarter-final round against expectations.

Upsets in the under 21 men’s singles event, it was even greater in the under 21 women’s singles competition. China’s Qi Fei recorded a third round win against Belgium’s Margo Defraef (11-4, 11-4, 11-4), the second round winner in opposition to Audrey Zarif France, the top seed (11-9, 11-4, 17-15).

Good form from Qi Fei, it was no different from Italy’s Jamila Laurenti; after ousting Marie Migot, the no.2 seed (11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 2-11, 14-12), she overcame Poland’s Julia Slazak (11-3, 13-11, 10-12, 11-9) to secure her place in the last eight.

Surprises upon surprises, in fact not one of the top eight names reached the last eight! Additional to Qi Fei and Jamila Laurenti, China’s Wu Yangchen, Spain’s Zhang Sofia-Xuan, Japan’s Maki Shiomi and China’s Kuai Man all reserved quarter-final places as did Sweden’s Filippa Bergand and Russia’s Maria Tailakova.

The under 21 men’s singles and under 21 women’s singles events will be played to a conclusion on Friday 18th October.

Challenge Series 2019 Poland Tang Ming-Wei

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Day 3 - 2019 ITTF Challenge Polish Open