20 Oct 2019

Earlier this year at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships, listed at the time at no.157 in the global order, Korea Republic’s An Jaehyun sensationally reached the semi-final stage of the men’s singles event; on Saturday 19th October at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Polish Open in Wladyslawowo, colleague Park Chan-Hyeok matched and arguably exceeded the feat.

No current world ranking, no record of notable international success, he booked his place in the penultimate round.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In the third round of the men’s singles event, he beat Argentina’s Horacio Cifuentes, the no.8 seed (11-7, 12-10, 11-6, 13-11), prior to causing the biggest upset of the tournament to date; demonstrating a likeness for defensive play, he ended the hopes of Panagiotis Gionis of Greece, the top seed (12-10, 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10).

A semi-final place for Park Chan-Hyeok, who had started his journey in the qualification tournament, it was the same for China’s Xu Haidong and Xu Yingbin; in fact the only seeded player to reach the penultimate round was Poland’s Marek Badowski who occupied the no.18 spot in the order of merit.

Impressive performances

Most impressively, in the third round Xu Yingbin accounted for Japan’s Jo Yokotani in straight games 11-6, 11-9, 12-10, 11-4), prior to halting the aspirations of colleague, Xiang Peng in a similar fashion (11-9, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6); a contest that was much different to their meeting in early September on the junior boys’ singles final at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Ulaanbaator. On that occasion, Xu Yingbin had emerged successful by the minimal margin the deciding game (11-5, 9-11, 11-3, 16-14, 9-11, 5-11, 12-10).

Imposing from Xu Yingbin, life was more testing for Xu Haidong but less so for Marek Badowski. Xu Haidong beat Japan’s Hiroto Shinozuka (11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-2), prior to overcoming Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, the no.5 seed (11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5). Likewise, Marek Badowski, beat colleague Samuel Kulczycki (11-8, 11-5, 13-11, 12-10), before ending the hopes of England’s Tom Jarvis (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3).

At the semi-final stage Park Chan-Hyeok meets Marek Badowski, Xu Haidong confronts Xu Yingbin.

More pronounced

Penultimate round places for China, in the women’s singles event the situation was even more pronounced as Japanese hopes lay in shreds.

Qualifier Zhang Qiang beat both Satsuki Odo, the no.18 seed (15-13, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4) and Hina Hayata, the no.3 seed (7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10). In a similar authoritative manner, He Zhoujia, the top seed, accounted for Poland’s Natalia Bajor, the no.23 seed, followed by success in opposition to colleague, Fan Siqi (11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6).

Noteworthy performances it was the same from Chen Yi, the cadet girls’ singles winner at the 2019 Asian Junior and Cadet Championships. She beat Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin, the no.13 seed (8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-7, 12-10), prior to ousting Romania’s Irina Ciobanu, the no.30 seed (9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7).


Three players from China through to the women’s singles semi-finals, the one interloper is Korea Republic’s Yang Haeun. The no.26 seed, like Zhang Qiang she caused Japan pain. She beat Honoka Hashimoto (7-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 13-11, 11-7), having one round earlier stifled the aspirations of Italy’s Deborah Vivarelli (11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8).

In the penultimate round He Zhoujia meets Zhang Qiang, Chen Yi opposes Yang Haeun.

Surprise finalists

Surprise outcomes; it was the same in both the men’s doubles and women’s doubles events. In the former at the final hurdle Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes, the no.5 seeds, meet qualifiers, Poland’s Maciej Kubik and Samuel Kulczycki; in the latter, also qualifiers, Korea Republic’s Lee Eunhye and Shin Yubin oppose Honoka Hashimoto and Maki Shiomi, the no.3 seeds.

Notably at the semi-final stage Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes accounted for Belgium’s Martin Allegro and Florent Lambiet, the top seeds (3-11, 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4); in the opposite half of the draw Maciej Kubik and Samuel Kulczycki, having the previous day recorded a straight games win against Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang and Ng Pak Nam, the top seeds (11-6, 11-8, 12-10), booked their place in the final by defeating colleagues Jakub Dyjas and Daniel Gorak (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 13-11).

Upset order of merit

Similarly, Lee Eunhye and Shin Yubin upset the order of merit. They beat Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata, the top seeds, in the quarter-finals, prior to posting a semi-final success in opposition to Thailand’s Orawan Paranang and Suthasini Sawettabut, the no.6 seeds (9-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10).

Meanwhile, Honoka Hashimoto and Maki Shiomi ensured their place in the title decider by overcoming China’s Fan Siqi and Zhang Qiang (11-3, 6-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9), the winners the previous day when facing Korea Republic’s Chi Hyojoo and Lee Zin, the no.2 seeds (10-12, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9).

Play in Wladyslawowo concludes on Sunday 20th October.

Challenge Series 2019 Poland Panagiotis Gionis Park Chan-Hyeok

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Day 3 - 2019 ITTF Challenge Polish Open