by Ian Marshall, Editor
The no.22 seed, Steffen Mengel accounted for Italy’s Leonardo Mutti, the no.32 seed (11-9, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6) and Portugal’s João Geraldo, the no.16 seed, to reserve his place in the penultimate round.
Similarly, Benedikt Duda progressed without the need for a deciding seventh game. The top seed, in the third round he beat colleague Cedric Meissner (11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5), prior to ending the hopes of Sweden’s Anton Källberg, the no.6 seed (11-6, 11-6, 6-11, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10).
Impressive but if there was one member of the group to impress it was Shan Xiaona.
In the third round she accounted for Wang Yuan, the no.30 seed and also from Germany (11-9, 15-13, 11-6, 11-13, 13-11), before causing the biggest upset of the day. She ousted Japan’s Saki Shibata, the no.2 seed, the 22 year old seeking her sixth career ITTF Challenge Series women’s singles title. A most comprehensive performance; Shan Xiaona prevailed in six games (9-11, 12-10, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5).
At the semi-final stage Shan Xiaona meets Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin, the no.4 seed; in the opposite half of the draw, Singapore’s Zeng Jian, the no.10 seeds, confronts Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto, the no.3 seed.
Yang Xiaoxin reserved her last four place by beating Japan’s Mariia Tailakova, the no.13 seed (11-6, 12-10, 7-11, 14-12, 11-8), Zeng Jian overcame Romania’s Irina Ciobanu, the no.11 seed (11-8, 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5), Honoka Hashimoto ended the hopes of compatriot Satsuki Odo, the no.8 seed (11-8, 11-7, 11-2, 11-6).
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles semi-finals Benedek Duda faces Finland’s Benedek Olah, the no.13 seed; for Steffen Mengel, Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko, the no.2 seed awaits. At the quarter-final stage, Benedek Duda beat Romania’s Rares Sipos (1-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6), Kirill Gerassimenko halted the aspirations of the host nation’s Alvaro Robles, the no.5 seed.
Iranian brothers prevail
A men’s singles quarter-final defeat for Alvaro Robles, partnering compatriot Carlos Caballero in the men’s doubles it was farewell one round later; the no.3 seeds, they were beaten by Iran’s Nima Alamian and Noshad Alamiyan, the top seeds (9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 15-13, 11-5). In the final the Iranian brothers meet Korean Republic qualifiers, Baek Kwangil and Park Chan-Hyeok; they reserved their place in the title decider courtesy of success in opposition to Italy’s Leonardo Mutti and Niagol Stoyanov, the no.6 seeds (11-8, 11-8, 3-11, 15-13).
Success for Iran and Korea Republic; in the women’s doubles it was success upon success for Japan.
Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata, the top seeds, oppose Honoka Hashimoto and Maki Shiomi, the no.2 seeds. In the semi-final round Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata beat Singapore’s Goi Rui Xuan and Zeng Jian, the no.4 seeds (11-8, 11-5, 11-6), Honoka Hashimoto and Maki Shiomi overcame Germany’s Nina Mittelham and Shan Xiaona, the no.3 seeds (11-6, 11-8, 11-6).
Titles to be decided, on the penultimate day of play two titles were decided. Romania’s Rares Sipos, the no.2 seed, beat Germany’s Meng Fanbo, the no.26 seed (11-2, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7) to win the under 21 men’s singles event; Japan’s Maki Shiomi, the top seed, secured the under 21 women’s singles crown, in the final she overcame Romania’s Adina Diaconu, the no.3 seed (11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9).
Notably for Maki Shiomi it was her second such title in now four finals; last year she was the runner up in Canada and Indonesia, the winner in Paraguay. It was a first under 21 men’s singles final for Rares Sipos.
Play concludes on Sunday 8th February when the semi-finals and finals of the men’s singles and women’s singles events will be played in addition to the men’s doubles and women’s doubles finals.