Increasingly competitive on the international scene, Saudi Arabia made its presence felt on the penultimate day of action, Saturday 18th September, at the 2021 ITTF Kazakhstan International Open in Karaganda.
Naif Al-Jadai booked his place in the men’s singles semi-finals, Ali Alkhadrawi and Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi advanced to the men’s doubles final.
Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi throuh to the men's doubles final partnering Ali Alkhadrawi
At the quarter-final stage Naif Al-Jadai accounted Russia’s Maksim Kaburkin (11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 11-6, 3-11, 11-4) and now faces the host nation’s Kirill Gerassimenko, the favourite for the title.
Kirill Gerassimenko reserved his penultimate round place courtesy of success in opposition to Austria’s Alexander Chen (14-12, 12-10, 11-7, 11-5).
Alas for Ali Alkhadrawi, he was beaten by India’s Snehit Suravajjula (11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-3), a round where just as there were mixed fortunes for Saudi Arabia, it was the same for India. In the remaining quarter-final contest, Sudhansu Grover lost to Pavel Platonov of Belarus (13-15, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-3).
Disappointment for Ali Alkhadrawi, in the men’s doubles alongside Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi, it was better news; at the semi-final stage they ousted Siddesh Pande and Mudit Dani (11-8, 11-8, 11-3), in what was not a good round for India.
In the opposite half of the draw, Snehit Suravajjula experienced defeat when facing Kirill Gerassimenko and Kazak colleague, Alan Kurmangaliev (8-11, 11-2, 11-6, 10-12, 11-5).
Honours to some extent shared; in the women’s event, Russia proved dominant, Valeria Kotcyur in line for a full house.
She partnered Maksim Kaburkin to mixed doubles gold. The duo, having accounted for Kazakhstan’s Erik Raiter and Aiya Ashkeyeva (11-5, 11-1, 11-6), secured the title at the hands of Uzbekistan’s Mukhammad Uktamboeul and Sugdiyana Magalieva (11-2, 11-5, 11-9).
Additionally, alongside colleague Valeria Shcherbatykh, a women’s doubles semi-final place was reserved.
At the semi-final stage the duo overcame Kazakhstan’s Zauresh Akasheva and Sarvinoz Mirkhadirova (11-9, 11-7, 12-10). They now face India’s Kaushani Nath and Prapti Sen in the final.
In the corresponding penultimate round Kaushani Nath and Prapti Sen ended the aspirations of Uzbekistan’s Kamila Khalikova and Mekhrinisio Norkulova (11-7, 11-3, 8-11, 13-11).
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles Russia provided three of the four semi-finalists; the player to prevent the clean sweep being the host nation’s Aiya Alimbayeva. She recovered from a three games to one deficit to overcome Daria Shadrina (8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6).
Defeat for Daria Shadrina but for Russian colleagues it was success.
Valeria Kotcyur beat Prapti Sen (11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5), Ekaterina Okhotnikova overcame Kazakhstan’s Sarvinoz Mirkadirova (11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9), Valeria Shcherbatykh accounted for Kaushani Nath (11-8, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4).
At the semi-final stage Ekaterina Okhotnikova meets Valeria Shcherbatykh, Valeria Kotcyur opposes Aiya Alimbayeva.
Play 2021 ITTF Kazakhstan International Open concludes on Sunday 19th September.
Editor: Ian Marshall