by Simon Daish
Samuel Kaluzny (Slovakia) was the first competitor to qualify from the group phase, after registering wins against Lionel Weber (Switzerland) and Tomislav Kolarek (Croatia).
Unlike the Under 21 categories (best of five games), the Senior events are played in a best of seven format and Kaluzny required the seventh game in his opening encounter of the day.
Weber was sitting pretty against Kaluzny with a 2-3 advantage, but Kaluzny came back into the match winning games six and seven to take the win (8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7).
Taking world rankings into consideration, Kaluzny (472nd) had caused a big upset with his win over Weber (305th). However, Kaluzny then followed that result up with a stunning performance against Kolarek, who was ranked 148th in May, outlining just how well the Slovakian was playing:
“I am happy that I made it for the first time on the ITTF World Tour tournament. The first match against the Swiss (Weber) was really a nervous one, but as I turned it in the sixth set I calmed down and felt more comfortable. I was a kind of bit relaxed in the match against the Croatian (Kolarek) and I played a lot better. That’s why I am satisfied with my main draw and with my game as well.” – Samuel Kaluzny (Slovakia).
The other players to end day one with four points were Jakub Kleprlik (Czech Republic) and Dragan Subotic (Serbia).
Kleprlik started with a 4-0 success over Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki before producing arguably the comeback of the day, recovering from 0-3 behind against Ryotaro Ogata (Japan) to win four consecutive games, subsequently taking the match (10-12, 7-11, 3-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7, 12-10).
Subotic also began with a straight games victory as the Serbian ousted Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus 4-0; his tie against Sun Chia-Hung tested Subotic’s nerve as the Chinese Taipei player managed to pull two games back from 3-0 down. But Subotic held strong, claiming the sixth end to book his place in the main draw.
Japanese Players Set to Progress
Heading into the tournament, Japan was expected to see a large portion of its competitors reach the main draw. As the Czech Open prepares itself for a new day of Table Tennis the prospect of seeing Japanese players qualify from their groups is becoming more and more likely.
Tonin Ryuzaki opened his account by getting the better of Alin Spelbus (Romania) and a similar result against Hemming Hu on the second day of action will guarantee Ryuzaki’s spot in the next round.
Also well placed is Kazuhiro Yoshimura, following his triumph over Manav Vikash Thakkar (India) and just like his fellow compatriot Ryuzaki, he can confirm his qualification with one more win. In fact victories for Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri, Yuki Matsuyama, Koyo Kanamitsu or Tomoya Fujimura would be enough to take their respective groups.
Wednesday 31st August: Men’s Singles – Qualification Stage