07 Feb 2020

Success for one prominent German name, for another it was defeat as play progressed on Thursday 6th February at the 2020 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Granada.

Benedikt Duda duly booked his place in the third round of the men’s singles event, in the counterpart women’s competition it was a second round exit for Nina Mittelham.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Adapting to the surroundings, Benedikt Duda, the top seed, accounted for Russian qualifier, 18 year old Maksim Grebnev (9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 11-4), before overcoming Uzbekistan’s Zokhid Kenjaev, the no.17 seed (11-9, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7).

Somewhat differently for Nina Mittelham, likewise the top seed, it was a first round success against Belgium’s Natacha Koszulap (11-7, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7) but a second round defeat when facing the Czech Republic’s Katerina Tomanovska (11-9, 5-11, 11-1, 12-10, 12-10), a player very much in form. Required to qualify, in the opening round, she had ousted Amy Wang of the United States, the no.29 seed (9-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-6, 6-11, 13-11, 11-9).

Saving grace

Defeat for Nina Mittelham but of the leading names in the women’s singles she was very much alone; notably Japan’s Saki Shibata, Honoka Hashimoto, Sakura Mori and Maki Shiomi all advanced to the third round as did Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin, Singapore’s Zeng Jian and Romania’s Irina Ciobanu.

The saving grace in the women’s singles event for Germany was very much Shan Xiaona alongside Chantal Mantz.

Chantal Mantz balanced the books for Germany (Photo: Alvaro Diaz)


Both duly reserved third round places, Shan Xiaona, the no.5 seed, as expected, Chantal Mantz in a different mode. A qualifier, she recorded an opening round win against Pauline Chasselin of France, the no.23 seed (13-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9), prior to ousting Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin, the no.15 seed (9-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-2, 6-11, 11-2, 13-11).

More prominent

Casualties in the women’s singles event, amongst prominent names the number was much greater in the men’s singles competition.

Kazakhstan’s Krill Gerassimenko, Spain’s Alvaro Robles and Sweden’s Anton Källberg survived as did Brazil’s Eric Jouti, Japan’s Mizukin Oikawa and Slovenia’s Deni Kozul.

However, it was not a good day in particular for one family. Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan, the no.3 seed, experienced a second round exit when facing Romania’s Rares Sipos (11-13, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8); one round earlier, younger brother Nima Alamian, the no.12 seed, had departed at the hands of Germany’s Cedric Meissner (24-22, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-8). Alas for Cedric Meissner the euphoria was short lived; in the second round he was beaten by the host nation’s Carlos Machado (11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5).

Nima Alamian beaten by Cedric Meissner (Photo: Alvaro Diaz)


Likewise, Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, the no.4 seed, experienced an opening round defeat at the hands of Spain’s Carlos Caballero (11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7), who then lost to Italy’s Leonardo Mutti, the no.32 seed (11-3, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6).

Success for Italy but there was the opposite emotion; Niagol Stoyanov, the no.10 seed, was beaten in the opening round by Frenchman Jules Rolland (11-9, 2-11, 8-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8) who then promptly experienced defeat at the hands of Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the no.27 seed (15-17, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7).

Problems for noteworthy names in the opening round, it was the same for Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo in round two; the no.8 seed, he was beaten by Michel Levinski of the United States (11-9, 11-4, 6-11, 10-12, 13-11, 10-12, 11-9).

Better news

Disappointing news for Noshad Alamiyan and Nima Alamian, in the men’s doubles life was much better, the top seeds, they beat Pavel Platonov and Vadim Yarashenka of Belarus (11-3, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8) to book their place in the quarter-finals.

Likewise, Eric Jouti and Thiago Monteiro, the no.2 seeds, progressed but there was a notable casualty; Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Khalid Assar suffered in opposition to Russia’s Maksim Grebnev and Lev Katsman (7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-3).

Lev Katsman (left) and (right) Maksim Grebnev caused a major opening round upset (Photo: Alvaro Diaz)


A notable casualty in the men’s doubles opening round; at the same stage of the women’s doubles there were no such travails; most significantly, Japan’s Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata, the top seeds, advanced as did colleagues, Honoka Hashimoto and Maki Shiomi, the no.2 seeds.

Semi-finalists known

Meanwhile, in the under 21 men’s singles and under 21 women’s singles events the semi-finalists are known.

In the former Maksim Grebnev, the no.37 seed, meets Germany’s Meng Fanbo, Nicholas Tio of the United States, the no.7 seed, opposes Rares Sipos, the no.2 seed; in the latter Japan’s Maki Shiomi confronts Russia’s Mariia Tailakova, the no.4 seed, Romania’s Adina Diaconu, the no.3 seed, faces Russia’s Elizabet Abraamian, the no.28 seed.

Adina Diaconu meets Elizabet Abraamian in the under 21 women’s singles semi-finals (Photo: Alvaro Diaz)


On Saturday 7th February, the third round and quarter-finals of the men’s singles and women’s singles events will be staged; the finalists in the men’s and women’s doubles will be determined. In addition the under 21 men’s singles and under 21 women’s singles champions will be crowned.

Challenge Series 2020 Spanish Open Nina Mittelham Benedikt Duda

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Day 3 - 2020 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open