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Battle for qualification begins, standout performances lead to shock outcomes in Doha

The fans at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena in Doha, Qatar were treated to a thrilling day of table tennis on Tuesday 21st February as qualification matches for the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open got underway.

Alongside the qualification matches for the Men's and Women's Singles competitions there was also action from both the Under 21 Men's and Women's events, which brought the day to a close with quarter-final encounters.

Just the one round of Women’s Singles qualifying group stage ties took place on the day, with all 16 groups featuring match play.

Barbora Balazova of the Slovak Republic is placed at no.77 in the ITTF World Rankings table for February 2017, and headed to Doha off the back of making an appearance at the 2017 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup competition hosted in Antibes, France.

However, Balazova’s opening match at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open produced an unexpected defeat for the Slovak player as her Polish opponent Kinga Stefanska, who is ranked 125th in the world, came through the match with a stunning 4-3 victory (11-13, 9-11, 11-9, 4-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-8) to take the early advantage in the group.

Two additional shock results came in Group 3 and Group 8 as the lower ranked players dramatically prevailed.

Austria’s Amelie Solja saw off the world no.79 f