(by Steve Hopkins)
The first ITTF event of 2021 is officially underway in Doha, and the 8 qualifiers have been decided. Levenko, Sirucek, Bobocica, Morizono, Alamiyan, Habesohn, Cho, and Geraldo have advanced to join the top 16 seeds in the Main Draw. And, just like the past two days, some of the qualifiers best known to the US have fallen including Tiago Apolonia (who lost to his teammate, Joao Geraldo), Anton Kallberg (who lost to Daniel Habesohn), and Qiu Dang (who was dominated by an Iranian player named Noshad Alamiyan).
The “Middle East Hub” is a series of four events that begin with the WTT Contender Event this week, then the WTT Star Contender Event on March 5, then the World Singles Qualification Tournament on March 14, and finally the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament on March 18. The top seeds in the Contender Event will see action tomorrow. Tomokazu Harimoto will play Chuang Chih-Yuan, and second-seeded Hugo Calderano will play teammate Gustavo Tsuboi. The third seeded Lin Yun-Ju will face Benedikt Duda, and fourth seeded Mattias Falck will face Mihai Bobocica.
On the women’s side, top seeded Mima Ito will face Britt Eerland and second seeded Cheng I-Ching will face Bernadette Szocs. USA’s Lily Zhang will face Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, Canada’s Mo Zhang will face Germany’s Xiaona Shan, and Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz will face Margaryta Pesotska.
Check in with ButterflyOnline.com for news and scores as the ITTF Calendar heats up ahead of the Olympic Games this July.