Otocec Slovenia is the host of the WTT Feeder event this week and the top four seeds are already out before the Semifinals even start on Sunday. If the tournament had gone by seed, Andrej Gacina and Marcos Freitas might have faced off in the Final. But with Marek Badowski topping Gacina in the Round of 32 and Marcos Freitas falling to Cho Seungmin in the same early round, the top two seeds were out early. Some of the other higher seeds made deeper runs – An Jaehyun lasted to the Quarterfinals before falling to Lin Shidong, for instance. But the final four are Benedek Olah and Jang Woojin who will play each other on Sunday, and two young Chinese players, Lin Shidong and Xiang Peng set to play each other in the other Semifinal.
Xiang Peng, a highly ranked Chinese youth player at age 19, defeated Cho Seungmin in the Quarterfinals. Peng dominated from the start, winning four straight. Lin Shidong, a 17 year old rising Chinese player, had an easy time with An Jaehyun (a perennial Top 50 player). The match up of the two young Chinese prospects on Sunday should be interesting – perhaps both are ready to make a jump to National Team level. For Shidong, a win in this event could be a major step – as he has already won Mixed Doubles (paired with Kuai Man), and will play in the Men’s Doubles Final tomorrow in a slot between the Men’s Singles Semifinals and Finals.
Unlike the Men’s Singles event, three of the top four seeds have made it to the Final Four. The surprise of the event is China’s Qin Yuxuan, a fifteen year old, who took out World No. 20 Hana Matelova and Japan’s phenom Miwa Harimoto on her way to the Semifinals. Qin will face Japan’s Miu Hirano. The other Semifinal is between Kuai Man and Haruna Ojio (the tournament’s second and third seeds).
More action is on tap for Sunday. Visit ButterflyOnline.com for the latest table tennis news and results.