02 Nov 2019

Next stop Tokyo for the ZEN-NOH 2019 Team World Cup, England’s Tom Jarvis was very much the player to shine as play progressed in the men’s singles event on Friday 1st November at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open in Minsk.

He emerged as one of six players who started proceedings in the qualification tournament and booked third round places; arguably, he was the player to cause the biggest upset.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In the opening round he beat Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko, the no.5 seed (11-5, 11-4, 11-13, 11-8, 13-11), before ousting India’s Amalraj Anthony, the no.26 seed (11-4, 8-11, 11-4, 12-14, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8). The result of the day but Kirill Gerassimenko was not the highest rated player to fall in the opening round at the hands of a qualifier; in fact he was third on the list! However, the performance of Tom Jarvis stood at the top of the list.

The highest listed player to stumble was Russia’s Kirill Skachkov followed by Romania’s Cristian Pletea. Kirill Skachkov, the no.3 seed, lost to China’s Yan Sheng (11-2, 11-3, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8) who then promptly, when facing a further Russian, was beaten by Sadi Ismailov (11-8, 12-10, 11-9, 10-12, 11-4).

Meanwhile, Cristian Pletea, the no.4 seed lost to China’s Xu Yingbin (7-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9) who then duly accounted for Frenchman Alexandre Cassin (11-8, 11-9, 11-7, 11-3). Defeat for a highly seeded player but it could hardly be termed an upset; less than two weeks ago, Xu Yingbin won the men’s singles title at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Polish Open.

Xu Yingbin safely through to round three (Photo: courtesy of ITTF Challenge Belarus Open)
Upsetting the odds

A third round place for Xu Yingbin contrary to status, it was the same for Poland’s Marek Badowski, the player Xu Yingbin had beaten in the Polish final; the no.22 seed, he upset the odds in the second round by overcoming Hungary’s Bence Majoros, the no.10 seed (11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6).

Likewise Chinese Xu Fei, the no.31 seed, defied the statistics to book his third round place by overcoming Slovenia’s Deni Kozul the no.16 seed (5-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5) and thus joined colleagues and qualifiers Yuan Licen and Sai Linwei in round three. Not to be outdone, also required to qualify Germany’s Meng Fanbo and Russia’s Maxim Chaplygin progressed; notably in round two, Maxim Chaplygin ousted Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, the no.8 seed (12-10, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8).

The defence of Maxim Chaplygin proved too secure for Brian Afanador (Photo: courtesy of ITTF Challenge Belarus Open)
France in form

Problems for prominent names but not for the most prominent; Frenchman Emmanuel Lebesson, the top seed, beat Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the no.20 seed (11-5, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5) to reserve his place in round three. Similarly, Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic, the no.2 seed, progressed courtesy of success in opposition to Russia’s Vildan Gadiev, the no.23 seed (11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5).

Impressive from France but for the European country the most impressive performance came in the women’s singles event. In the opening round Marie Migot accounted for Lily Zhang of the United States, the no.7 seed (11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-2), the player who just under two weeks ago had reached the semi-final round of the Uncle Pop 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Success for Marie Migot was followed by further success, in round two she accounted for Poland’s Anna Wegrzyn (6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8, 4-11, 11-7).

Marie Migot caused a first round upset by beating Lily Zhang (Photo: courtesy of ITTF Challenge Belarus Open)
More United States disappointment

Disappointment for the United States in the opening round, there was more; Wu Yue, the no.3 seed who had also been on duty at the Uncle Pop 2019 Women’s World Cup, was beaten by China’s Fan Siqi (12-10, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6). Similar to Marie Migot, she maintained her good form, she overcame Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova (11-4, 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3) to book her third round place.

Upsets of note, both in the upper half of the draw, in the lower half there was also a major casualty; in the second round Ukraine’s Ganna Gaponova, the no.8 seed, experienced defeat when facing Spain’s Sofia-Xuan Zhang (10-12, 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9).

Otherwise, amongst the leading names there was success; Japan’s Saki Shibata, Hina Hayata and Honoka Hashimoto all progressed. Saki Shibata, the top seed, beat Audrey Zarif of France (7-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-4, 11-5) to reserve her third round place; a situation that applied to Hina Hayata, the no.2 seed and Honoka Hashimoto, the no.4 seed, when facing aspiring Chinese opposition. Hina Hayata beat Yang Huijing (11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, 13-11), Honoka Hashimoto accounted for Chen Yi (11-4, 11-4, 3-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3).

Third round places expected for the Japanese trio but there were surprise names that progressed; most notablly China’s Feng Yalan, Wang Xiaotong, Wu Yangchen and Kuai Man alongside Shi Xunyao all advanced as did Korea Republic’s Kim Haeun. All started play in the qualification stage.

A third round place for Wu Yangchen (Photo: courtesy of ITTF Challenge Belarus Open)
More French success

Surprise outcomes, it was the same in the opening round of the men’s doubles. Safely through the qualification stage Frenchmen Bastien Rembert and Jules Rolland beat Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi and Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi, the no.5 seeds (11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-4). Likewise China’s Xu Haidong and Zhao Zhaoyuan ousted India’s Amalraj Anthony and Harmet Desai, the no.6 seeds (11-7, 11-8, 11-7); not to be overshadowed, Japan’s Hiroto Shinozuka and Kakeru Sone ended the hopes of Aliaksandr Khanin and Pavel Platonov, the no.8 seeds (11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 2-11, 11-7).

Early exits for notable pairs; for the leading combinations it was opening round success. Belgium’s Martin Allegro and Florent Lambiet, the top seeds, beat Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Rares Sipos (11-9, 11-6, 12-10); Emmanuel Lebesson and colleague Tristan Flore, the no.2 seeds, halted the aspirations of China’s Gao Yang and Xie Congfan (11-6, 11-9, 11-5).

A successful start for Emmanuel Lebesson (nearest camera) and Tristan Flore (Photo: courtesy of ITTF Challenge Belarus Open)
Second seeds fall

Success for the second seeds as expected, in the opening round of the women’s doubles event, it was not to be the outcome. Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel experienced defeat when confronting Italy’s Chiara Colantoni and Jamila Laurenti (11-3, 13-11, 11-4).

Problems for the Hungarians, there were problems for three further seeded pairs in the opening round of the women’s singles event. The French pairing of Stéphanie Loeuillette and Audrey Zarif, the no.5 seeds, lost to China’s Feng Yalan and Zhang Qiang (11-2, 11-8, 11-7), the host nation’s Nadezhda Bogdanova and Daria Trigolos, the no.6 seeds, experienced defeat at the hands of Polish sisters Anna and Katarzyna Wegrzyn (11-6, 11-5, 11-7).

Likewise, there was no progress for the Czech Repblic’s Karin Adamkova and Aneta Siruckova, the no.7 seeds, they lost to Korea Republic’s Km Mingyungand Kim Yedam (7-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-7).

Upsets but not for the top seeds. Japan’s Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata made a most confident start against a most formidable pair. They beat China’s Kuai Man and Shi Xunyao (11-9, 11-8, 11-9).

A confident start for Saki Shibata (left) and (right) Satsuki Odo (Photo: courtesy of ITTF Challenge Belarus Open)
China guaranteed

The quarter-final stage in the men’s doubles and women’s doubles events reached; in the under 21 men’s singles and under 21 women’s singles the semi-finalists are realised.

In the under 21 men’s singles event, China is guaranteed a place in the final; Sai Linwei faces Niu Guankai. At the quarter-final stage both caused major upsets; Sai Linwei beat Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko, the top seed (11-4, 6-11, 5-11, 11-3, 11-3), Niu Guankai accounted for Iran’s Amir Hossein Hodaei, the no.4 seed (11-7, 11-3, 11-2).

Upsets in the top half of the draw, in the lower half it was rather different. Romania’s Rares Sipos, the no.5 seed recorded a quarter-final success against Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica, the no.22 seed (11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7); Frenchman Jules Rolland, the no.12 seed, beat Japan’s Hiroto Shinozuka (8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5).

Jules Rolland beat Hiroto Shinozuka to reserve his semi-final place (Photo: courtesy of ITTF Challenge Belarus Open)
Similar scenario

Similarly in the under 21 women’s singles event, China’s is guaranteed a place at the top table; in the penultimate round Shi Xunyao opposes Kuai Man; in the opposite half of the draw Poland’s Katarzyna Wegrzyn faces Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatykh, the no.5 seed and the only seeded player t reach the last four.

At the quarter-final stage Shi Xunyao beat Japan’s Maki Shiomi, the no.7 seed (11-5, 11-3, 11-9), Kuai man ended the hopes of Russia’s Kristina Kazantseva (7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6); in the adjacent half of the draw Katarzyna Wegrzyn overcame sister Anna Wegrzyn (11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3), Valeria Shcherbatykh accounted for Serbia’s Tijana Jokic (14-12, 8-11, 13-11, 13-11).

Valeria Shcherbatykh, the only seed remaining in the under 21 women’s singles event (Photo: courtesy of ITTF Challenge Belarus Open)


The last four decided; on Saturday 2nd November when the day closes, the winners of the under 21 men’s singles and under 21 women’s singles events will be known, as will the finalists in the men’s doubles and women’s doubles, in addition the men’s singles and women’s singles semi-finalists.

Challenge Series 2019 Belarus Open Tom jarvis

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Day 3 - 2019 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open