Doha: The qualifying rounds of the highly-anticipated WTT Star Contender Doha 2021 officially commenced on Monday as unseeded competitors opened their account at the Lusail Sports Arena.
Ranked outside the World top 500 in the latest ITTF World Table Tennis Ranking, Singapore’s Lucas Tan pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the day in Men’s Qualifying Singles. Tan looked to be heading for an early exit only to stage an incredible comeback victory over Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin, ranked 176th (6-11, 2-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-5).
Hiroto Shinozuka, 17, also caught the eye as the Japanese teenager put together a successful 3-1 win over Russia’s Sadi Ismailov (11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9). The result sees Shinozuka set up a second round meeting with Hong Kong, China’s Lam Siu Hang.
Similar to the Men’s event, Singapore also stole the spotlight in Women’s Qualifying Singles with Zhou Jingyi taking the plaudits. The 16-year-old showed wonderful character in her opening round match against Maryam Farei, fighting back from two games down to see off her the Iranian player in a 3-2 thriller (8-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-3).
Another teenager who impressed was France’s Prithika Pavade. Facing the host nation’s very own Ala Mohamed, Pavade, 17, conceded a combined total of seven points across three games (11-4, 11-1, 11-2) to storm through to round two.
One of the day’s standout results in Men’s Qualifying Doubles saw Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin and Jang Seongil suffer an opening round defeat. Germany’s Ricardo Walther and Fanbo Meng were responsible for the Korean pair’s downfall as they navigated an early storm on their way to a straight games victory (12-10, 11-9, 11-8).
Behrooz Daneshmand, Mustafa Bakhtiyari and Mohammad Hosseini featured in the opening round of Men’s Qualifying Singles, experiencing defeat against Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri (11-5, 11-5, 11-3), Singapore’s Beh Kun Ting (11-5, 11-9, 11-2) and Chinese Taipei’s Sun Chia-Hung (13-11, 11-9, 11-4). Bakhtiyari and Hosseini also deputised in Men’s Qualifying Doubles, again falling short at the first hurdle with Singapore’s Clarence Chew and Beh proving too strong (11-6, 11-4, 11-9).
On the other hand, Qatar women’s challenge in the singles competition of the World Table Tennis’ Star Contender tournament ended in the first round of the qualifying competitions.
Shouq Abdulla went down to India’s Reeth Tennison 5-11, 6-11, 6-11.
Maha Ali and Maha Faramarzi lost to their Iranian opponents Melika Karami and Mahshid Ashtari respectively. Maha Ali lost 1-11, 4-11, 5-11 while Maha Faramarzi suffered a 1-11, 3-11, 5-11 defeat.
Ala Mohammed also failed to cross the qualifying hurdle going down to Slovenia’s Katarina Strazar 4-11, 1-11, 2-11.
The second and final day of qualifying in Doha gets underway from 1000 local time as Korea Republic’s Cho Seungmin and France’s Irvin Bertrand take to table two in Men’s Qualifying Singles. Then, from 1400 local time, Women’s Qualifying Singles resumes with the exciting duel between France’s Prithika Pavade and Ukraine’s Solomiya Brateyko set to feature from 1430. Play concludes with the closing stages of Women’s Qualifying Doubles and Men’s Qualifying Doubles with tickets to the round of 16 on the line.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee