16 Sep 2021

Finish in first or second positions in the initial phase group; then progress through a preliminary round stage, such were the requirements in order to join the seeded players in each of the men’s and women’s singles events, on Thursday 16th September, at the 2021 ITTF Kazakhstan International Open in Karaganda.

A testing schedule, one that witnessed close contests; more than one unexpected name advancing to the main draw.

by Ian Marshall

Overall, a total of 10 groups in the men’s singles initial stage, thus 20 players, two preliminary rounds were necessary, 12 players gaining direct entry to the second preliminary round.

India’s Jeet Chandra, Snehit Suravajjula, Sudhansu Grover and Siddesh Pande duly progressed as anticipated, they had concluded the group stage unbeaten.

Likewise, Saudi Arabia’s Naif Al-Jadai advanced but the remaining names to reserve places were somewhat unexpected.

Three players who had finished in runners up positions in their group contests, emerged successful in the second preliminary round.

Moreover, there was success for the host nation. Iskender Kharki beat colleague Denis Zholudev (10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7), Erik Raiter accounted for Uzbekistan’s Elmurod Kholikov (8-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-8, 4-11, 8-11, 11-3).

The one remaining surprise name was that of Russia’s Maksim Kaburkin. He overcame Uzbekistan’s Abdulaziz Anorboev (10-12, 11-3, 11-7, 11-5, 11-2) to reserve his last 16 main draw place.

Eight names decided, in fact there was one more owing to the withdrawal of India’s Sanil Shetty, the no.5 seed; the “lucky loser” principle applied. Heorhi Kunats of Belarus, who had finished in group runners up spot and in the second preliminary round had been beaten by Siddesh Pande (11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5), emerged the name drawn out of the hat.

Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, just one preliminary round was needed to determine the names of the eight players who would join the eight seeds in the main draw.

Seven groups, a total of 14 players, Russia’s Ekaterina Okhotnikova and Dana Shadrina, having finished in first positions in the top two groups, gained byes and thus direct entries to the knock-out stage.

Just as in the men’s singles, three players, who had concluded their group matches in second positions, advanced.

India’s Ankita Das, who in the group stage had somewhat surprisingly lost to Russia’s Valeria Kotcyur (11-8, 11-1, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10), was back to winning ways. She ended the hopes of Kazakhstan’s Alsu Saparova (11-9, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5).

Defeat for the host nation but there was the opposite side of the coin. Servinov Mirkadirova overcame Mariia Stepanova, like Valeria Kotcyur from Russia (9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9).

Progress for Kazakhstan, there was also progress for Uzbekistan; Kamila Khalikova prevailed against Kyrgyzstan’s Nazgul Sulaimanova (11-5, 11-6, 11-3, 11-4).

The three remaining places were all reserved by players who had topped their respective groups, India’s Prapti Sen, Kazakhstan’s Aiya Alimbayeva and Russia’s Valeria Kotcyur.

Play in the opening round of the men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s doubles will be held on Friday 17th September, as will the opening round and quarter-finals of the mixed doubles.

General News 2021 ITTF Kazakhstan International Open 2021 ITTF Kazakhstan International Open

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