(by Steve Hopkins)
Doha, Qatar hosted a great event this week. The Star Contender Doha included 12 players in the Top 25 – Hugo Calderano and Lin Yun-Ju were the top two seeds, and some of the other top names included Jorgic and Franziska and Moregard and Falck and USA’s Kanak Jha. In the end, it was World No. 47 Andrej Gacina that topped the field after a wild series of upsets.
Top seeded Hugo Calderano had two wins on his way to the Quarterfinals, but he was upset 3-1 by Kristian Karlsson. Second seeded Lin Yun Ju followed a similar path, topping Alexandre Cassin and Anton Kallberg on his way to a Quarterfinal loss to Lim Jonghoon. Zhou Qihao managed three wins, including a Round of 16 win over Patrick Franziska before falling to Quadri Aruna in the Quarterfinals. The other Quarterfinal was between Xue Fei (who topped both Darko Jorgic and Kanak Jha) against Andrej Gacina (who upset Gerassimenko, then upset Moregard, then upset Wong Chun Ting) with Gacina winning 3-1.
Lim Jonghoon defeated Quadri Aruna 4-2 to advance to the Final. Gacina then topped Kristian Karlsson, winning the first game 12-10 before Karlsson withdrew due to injury. One might assume that the lower seeded Gacina, who advanced past the Semifinal partially due to injury would be a real longshot – but it was Gacina that came out on top. Jonghoon won the first two games easily, but then the tide turned and Gacina ran off four straight wins. Gacina wins 4-2, the perfect end to a great run that included six upset wins.
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