Slovakia hosts its first Challenger Cup, as Hungary’s Martin Csereklye takes home three medals
Slovakia hosted its first ever Challenger Cup on 15-16 October in Prešov, with 37 teqers from Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Canada, and Chinese Taipei competing at the event across men’s and women’s singles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
With 16 players from the top 60 in the World Rankings, including world number 1 Anna Izsak, the standard was exceptionally high.
Marian Badar became the first Slovakian player to reach the knockout rounds in the men’s singles, but it was world number 7 Martin Csereklye who defeated world number 4, Adrian Duszak 2-0 (8-12, 8-12) in the final. Marek Pokwap won the bronze match 2-0 (12-10, 12-10) to finish a strong performance, where he only dropped points to the eventual champion.
Anna Izsak defeated the next highest ranked opponent, world number 5 Boglarka Nagy, 2-0 (12-5, 12-9) in an all-Hungarian final to emerge as champion in the women’s singles. Alicja Bartnicka from Poland won the bronze match 2-1 (11-12, 12-5, 9-12) in a thrilling volley encounter against Boglarka Lepsenyi.
The men’s doubles saw familiar faces return to the podium positions, as singles champion Csereklye teamed up with his Hungarian countryman Barna Kovacsfi to defeat singles silver and bronze medallists Duszak and Pokwap 2-1 (12-7, 6-12, 12-10) in the final. Gergo Dombai and Zalan Szegedi claimed the bronze medal.
In mixed doubles, Krisztian Dr Kiralyvolgyi teamed up with women’s runner up Nagy to take home gold after a 2-0 (12-10, 12-5) win over men’s runner up Duszak and women’s bronze medallist Bartnicka. Csereklye again found himself on the podium, after achieving bronze alongside Lepsenyi.
FITEQ, alongside the Consulate General of Hungary in Kosice, donated two teq tables following the event to the University of Prešov and to a local Prešov secondary school, ensuring that there is a lasting memory of this competition, and providing an opportunity for the next generation of Slovakian teqers to thrive.