24 Aug 2021

Winner on the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit in Sweden, Austria’s Andreas Levenko emerged the surprise semi-finalist in the men’s singles event at the 2021 Czech International Open, when play concluded on the penultimate day of action, Tuesday 24th August, in Olomouc.

Meanwhile, in the counterpart women’s singles event, the surprise names to reach the last four were Audrey Zarif of France and Russia’s Mariia Tailakova.

by Ian Marshall

Andreas Levenko, now 23 years old, the no.7 seed, made the most of the opportunities presented.

He accounted for qualifiers, the Czech Republic’s Radek Skala (11-4, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4) and Frenchman, Leo de Nodrest (11-9, 10, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9) to reserve his semi-final place.

In the penultimate round he meets Ukraine’s Yevhen Pryshchepa, the no.4 seed, in the opposite half of the draw, India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the top seed, confronts Sweden’s Truls Moregard, the no.3 seed.

Yevhen Pryshchepa progressed in a similar vein to Andreas Levenko by ousting in form qualifiers; he beat Frenchman Bastien Rembert (12-10, 11-5, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8) before overcoming Hungary’s Csaba Andras (11-6, 11-2, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9).

Likewise, at the quarter and semi-final stages, Truls Moregard doused the hopes of qualifiers. He beat Slovakia’s Adam Klajber (9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9), followed by success in opposition to Frenchman, Lilian Bardet (11-6, 12-10, 5-11, 11-3, 11-5).

Rather differently Sathiyan Gnanasekaran accounted for Russia’s Sadi Ismailov, the no.11 seed (11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 11-2), prior to ending the hopes of Saudi Arabia’s Ali Alkhadrawi, the no.12 seed (11-9, 11-2, 11-9, 11-8).

Penultimate round places determined

Hard earned semi-final places, it was the same in the women’s singles event for both Audrey Zarif and Mariia Tailakova.

After accounting for England’s Tin-Tin Ho, the no.5 seed (11-9, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6), Audrey Zarif, the no.9 seed, caused a further upset by overcoming Poland’s Natalia Bajor, the no.4 seed (11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 5-11, 14-11, 11-7, 11-5).

Likewise, there were testing times for Mariia Tailakova. She beat Sweden’s Filipa Bergand, the no.14 seed (11-6, 11-8, 11-8, 15-17, 11-1), prior to overcoming India’s Archana Girish Kamath, the no.10 seed (8-11, 11-4, 13-11, 14-12, 9-11, 12-10) and a player very much in form. One round earlier, she had ousted Chile’s Paulina Vega, the no.2 seed (12-10, 11-13, 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-7).

Success against the odds, for Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin, the top seed and Sweden’s Linda Bergström, the no.3 seed, it was as per programme. Yang Xiaoxin beat Aikaterini Toliou of Greece, the no.12 seed (11-3, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5), followed by success in opposition to Daria Trigolos of Belarus, the no.7 seed (11-6, 11-2, 13-11,11-8).

Most impressive from Yang Xiaoxin, for Linda Bergström, life was marginally more testing. She prevailed against India’s Sreeja Akula, the no.13 seed (11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 11-7), before overcoming Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatykh, the no.15 seed (11-2, 11-7, 4-11, 11-8, 11-6).

Title decided

Progress to the semi-final stage in each of the men’s singles and women’s singles events, in mixed doubles the title was decided, in the men’s doubles and women’s doubles, the finalists determined.

Aleksandr Khanin and Daria Trigolos of Belarus emerged the mixed doubles winners; at the final hurdle they beat Ukraine’s Anton Limonov and Solomiya Bateyko (11-5, 11-7, 13-11).

In the men’s doubles, the combination of England’s Sam Walker and Sweden’s Truls Moregard meet the French combination of Lilian Bardet and Leo de Nodrest to decide the title; in the women’s doubles final, the host nation’s Zdena Blaskova and Katerina Tomanovska face Poland’s Anna Wegrzyn and Katarzyna Wegrzyn.

At the semi-final stage Sam Walker and Truls Moregard beat India’s Jeet Chandra and Snehit Suravajjula (8-11, 15-13, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4); Lilian Bardet and Leo de Nodrest overcame colleagues Bastien Rembert and Vincent Picard (11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6).

Similarly in the women’s doubles penultimate round matches, Zdena Blaskova and Katerina Tomanovska overcame Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova and Ema Labosova (13-11, 2-11, 11-7, 11-7), Anna Wegrzyn and Katarzyna Wegrzyn ended the hopes of the partnership formed by Germany’s Franziska Schreiner and Chile’s Paulina Vega (11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3).

Play in Olomouc concludes on Wednesday 25th August.


General News 2021 ITTF Czech International Open 2021 Czech International Open

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