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Table Tennis News and Reviews » Blog Archive » Qatar Open - Bright Sparks Ready to Extinguish Leading Lights in Qatar Qualifiers

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  • 18Feb

    Turkey’s Borna Vang, Russia’s Igor Rubtsov and Maksim Shmyrev plus
    Germany’s Zoltan Fejer-Konnerth are the highest four world ranked
    players on duty in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event
    at the at the Qatar Open, the fourth ITTF Pro Tour tournament of the
    year, which commences in Doha on Tuesday 17th February and concludes
    with the finals on Saturday 21st February 2009.

    All four are
    favourites to finish in top place in their respective groups but all
    four face stern opposition in they are to achieve that goal.
    There is a gathering of bright sparks ready to test the leading lights.

    Japanese Prodigy
    Borna
    Vang, a new recruit to Turkish ranks, could well have his talents
    severely tested by one of the youngest players in action in Doha; in
    the group stage he faces 14 year old Koki Niwa of Japan, a talented
    left hander in the mould of Denmark’s Michael Maze or his own
    countryman, Jun Mizutani.

    Niwa, who competed on the ITTF Junior
    Circuit in 2008 in Sweden, Poland, Tahiti and India but never managed
    to win a Boys’ Singles title, gave a quite stunning performance in
    early November at the ITTF Junior Circuit Finals when he won the Boys’
    Singles crown.

    Not only did he win the coveted title, he was the youngest player in action!

    In Doha, he could prove more than a handful for Borna Vang.

    Man in Form Faces Junior Talent
    Similarly,
    Igor Rubtsov faces a player who has benefited from the ITTF Global
    Junior Programme and has been a familiar face in ITTF World Junior
    Circuit events.

    He meets Croatia’s Borna Kovac, the winner of
    the Boys’ Singles event at the Chile Junior Open in 2008, a win that
    demonstrated his ability to play under pressure. A good performance in
    Chile was needed to qualify for the ITTF Junior Circuit Finals, Borna
    Kovac duly delivered.

    However, if there is a player in form, it
    is Igor Rubtsov. The Russian is very much the man-of-the-moment
    reaching the quarter-finals of the Men’s Singles event at the just
    completed Salwa Cup Kuwait Open where he beat a string of celebrated
    names before, China’s current superman, Ma Long halted adventures.

    He overcame the Czech Republic’s Petr Korbel before inflicting pain on Germany by beating Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Christian Süss.

    Seeking to Repeat 2008b Form
    Also,
    Maksim Shmyryev, who in 2008 was in good form in Qatar beating Petr
    Korbel in round one before Ma Long ended progress, faces Denmark’s
    Mikkel Hindersson.

    The Dane has yet to make his mark on the
    international scene but he is dangerous and in Kuwait, certainly gave
    Igor Rubtsov food for thought in the qualification stage of the Men’s
    Singles event.

    Egyptian Challenge
    Meanwhile, for Zoltan Fejer-Konnerth, he confronts a player who like Rubtsov is in form.

    In
    his qualification group he meets Egypt’s Mohammed El-Beiali, the young
    man who excelled all expectations to reach the final of the Under 21
    Men’s Singles event at the Salwa Cup Kuwait Open and in so doing made
    sufficient noise to awaken the embalmed Tutankhamun in his home city of
    Cairo.

    Test
    Similarly, for the next four men on duty there could well be testing times.

    Germany’s
    Lars Hielscher, the fifth highest world ranked player in action on the
    opening day, faces Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, the winner of the Under 21
    Men’s Singles title in Kuwait whilst next in line, Patrick Baum, also
    from Germany, confronts the talented Indian, Pathik Metha.

    Seeking a Higher Step
    Meanwhile,
    for Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the seventh highest rated player in
    action, and a player with a glittering junior career, confronts the
    Hungarian rising star Daniel Kosiba. On the ITTF Junior Circuit the
    Hungarian has impressed without going that one step further; his career
    best performance came at the Polish Youth Open in 2008 when he suffered
    defeat at the final hurdle.

    However, that defeat was no
    disgrace; he was beaten by Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira, the player who
    stands at the top of the ITTF Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings.

    Making Strides
    Completing
    the top eight is a young man who is certainly on the up and maintaining
    Croatian excellence; Andrej Gacina and like his other top rated
    colleagues, he faces testing opposition in the guise of India’s Sunil
    Shetty.

    All eight are the favourites to succeed but will they all fulfill that billing?

    Who knows, that’s the attraction of sport, the beauty of table tennis.

    Source: www.ittf.com

    Posted by ttfan @ 12:13 pm

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