by Simon Daish
Claiming major scalps earlier in the tournament with mighty performances against the likes of Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and another British hopeful in Paul Drinkhall, 18-year-old Sidorenko has shown he is more than capable of competing with the world elite in the Qatari capital.
Besting Pitchford, however, proved one step too far with the top seed from Chesterfield restricting the young Russian to under five points in all but one game!
Next up for Pitchford is a semi-final play-off against Greek defender Panagiotis Gionis, who secured his spot in the final four with victory over Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu (12-10, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 17-19, 12-10).
In contrast to his previous spell at the table where he met another defender in Slovakia’s Wang Yang, this time Gionis, seeded 10th, returned to a more familiar set up with no.16 seed Ionescu aligning himself closer to your traditional attack-minded player. Game five proved arguably the most dramatic period in the match as both players failed to capitalise on numerous opportunities, with Ionescu saving multiple match points to keep the contest alive. Another tight game followed but this time it was Gionis who fought back from behind to edge a nerve-racking affair.
One of the stars of the show in Doha, Kirill Skachkov has extended his men’s singles campaign following another eye-catching performance from the Russian no.13 seed.
Taking on Ukraine’s Kou Lei, seeded 12th, Skachkov made the perfect start to the match with a sizeable win in game one. But more pleasing for the Russian would have been the game that followed as he narrowly squeezed over the line to heap significant pressure on his opponent. No matter how he tried, Kou just couldn’t find a way back into the contest and ultimately went on to bid his farewells (11-3, 13-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-5).
Florent Lambiet remains in the hunt after the no.32 seed managed to chalk up another win, with the player seeded directly above, Italy’s Niagol Stoyanov falling victim. The Belgian, who narrowly missed out on qualification with defeat in the knock-out 2 final, recovered from a slow start to defeat his Italian counterpart in six games (7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 5-11, 11-8). Lambiet’s reward is a semi-final showdown with in-form Kirill Skachkov.