10 Nov 2021

The second day of qualifying at WTT Contender Novo Mesto 2021 produced a headline-worthy elimination as China’s Liu Dingshuo exited Men’s Qualifying Singles on Tuesday, 9th November.

by Simon Daish

A semi-finalist last week at WTT Contender Laško, Liu Dingshuo, made light work of his opening encounter against Chile’s Alfonso Olave on Tuesday (11-5, 11-6, 11-5). However, a problematic draw saw Liu take on compatriot Zhou Qihao in a spectacular second-round showdown. On this occasion, the latter player claimed the bragging rights (13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7).

One of the day’s most extraordinary turnarounds came courtesy of Can Akkuzu. The 24-year-old French player opened his account in style as he cruised past United Arab Emirates’ Jassem Mohammed 3-0 (11-6, 11-3, 11-5). Akkuzu was forced to dig deeper in his second fixture of the day, showing tremendous character to fight back from two games down to beat Iran’s Amin Ahmadian 3-2 (11-13, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-3).

After recovering a one-game deficit, England’s Sam Walker remains in contention from seeing off India’s Jeet Chandra 3-1 (4-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8). Meanwhile, Alexander Shibaev earnt back-to-back 3-0 victories over United States’ Mishel Levinski (11-6, 11-5, 11-2) and Japan’s Yuma Tanigaki (11-9, 11-7, 12-10) to move one step closer to qualification.

Women’s Qualifying Singles showcased its fair share of unpredictability on Tuesday.

Located at the summit of the draw, Egypt’s Yousra Helmy, world number 88, was left stunned by Australian counterpart Yang Qian (12-10, 11-6, 11-5). Striking Paralympic gold in Tokyo, Yang continues to light up the international stage and is now just one step away from earning a converted ticket to the main draw in Laško.

Two additional Australian entries emerged successfully from their second-day fixtures, with Liu Yangzi and Jee Minhyung eliminating France’s Pauline Chasselin (11-9, 12-10, 11-7) and Germany’s Wan Yuan (11-8, 13-11, 12-10). Croatia’s Ivana Malobabic was another player who impressed, showing nerves of steel to secure a comeback victory over India’s Archana Girish Kamath (4-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 13-11).

World number 174 Filippa Bergand suffered defeat to lower-ranked opposition, with the Swedish hopeful losing out to India’s Swastika Ghosh, world-ranked 488th, across five games (12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9). There was no such problem for China’s Liu Weishan, who navigated her second-round match against Italy’s Gaia Monfardini without dropping a game (11-7, 11-5, 11-5).

The final day of qualifying is Wednesday 10th November, with action from four events lined up from 1000 local time onwards. Play from Women’s and Men’s Qualifying Doubles leads the programme before attention shifts to the closing stages of Women’s and Men’s Qualifying Singles. With only a handful of main draw tickets up for grabs, who will extend their stay, and who will bid farewell?

For event details of WTT Contender Novo Mesto, click here.

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