by Ian Marshall, Editor
In 2014 Alexandre Cassin won the junior boys’ singles title at the European Youth Championships in Riva del Garda, two years later he regained the crown when he prevailed in Zagreb.
However, the climb from succeeding at junior level to gaining creditable results on the senior scene has not been paved with gold; that was until last October. After a year’s absence from the international scene, at the ITTF World Tour Swedish Open, in the preliminary rounds he beat Hong Kong’s Kwan Man Ho, India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Brazil’s Vitor Ishiy.
He explained at the time that Hua Huorn, the French national coach, who in 2010 had guided Zhu Yuling to gold at the World Junior Championships in Bratislava, believed the time was ready to compete on the ITTF World Tour.
Good start to year
It would seem Hua Horn was correct; at the 2020 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open in Magdeburg, Alexandre Cassin beat Germany’s Nils Hohmeier, Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Romania’s Cristian Pletea.
Two weeks later in Hungary, he performed even better. He accounted for Hungary’s Norbert Nagy, Brazil’s Vitor Ishiy and most notably Finland’s Benedek Olah, before overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan to book his place in the main draw.
It was the stage at which he recorded the best win of his life. Most significantly he accounted for Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, prior to losing to Austria’s Robert Gardos.
The result is that on the current world ranking list published for March, Alexandre Cassin has moved from no.206 to no.115.
Why notable and significant?
Now why is the win against Benedek Olah notable and the success against Vladimir Samsonov significant?
In the opening preliminary round of the men’s singles event in Doha, Alexandre Cassin beat Benedek Olah by the narrowest of margins (4-11, 11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 12-10). Twice he has beaten Benedek Olah this year, can he do the same second preliminary round match? He faces Vladimir Samsonov!
However, there is one twice that is no going to happen; last year in Sweden he was beaten in the final preliminary round by China’s Zhao Zihao, the same thing happened this year in Germany!
In Doha they are in totally different halves of the preliminary round draw; maybe they could meet, once again the concept of two following Alexandre Cassin, the second round in the main draw?