by Simon Daish
Stefan Fegerl had opened his account at the event with a 4-2 victory over Joao Monteiro (POR) in the morning session, and the Austrian player sealed his spot in the next round after he beat Alexander Shibaev (RUS) in group 3’s second match.
Taking games one and two Fegerl made the brighter start to the encounter while his opponent struggled to move out of first gear, but Shibaev bounced back and levelled proceedings with two consecutive ends of his own.
The previous match between Fegerl and Shibaev was won by the latter player at the Liebherr 2015 European Table Tennis Championships in straight games.
However, it was Fegerl who prevailed in their Liebherr 2016 Men’s World Cup match with a terrific seventh game victory (12-10, 11-6, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6) to guarantee his place in the main draw.
“He defeated me easily during the European Championships but I was ready for him today. I put a lot of pressure on him and this made him make mistakes. I should have finished up the match after taking the first two games. I thought I would be more relaxed in this game having won the first against Monteiro, but it was a different scenario entirely. However, I am happy that I won to advance to the next stage” – Stefan Fegerl (Austria).
Defeat for Alexander Shibaev and the Russian representative put the loss down to his lack of match play compared to Fegerl who had played in the morning session in Saarbrücken, “I think beating him 3-0 at the European Championships was different from this competition,” said Shibaev. “Also he played a game earlier today and this put him in shape ahead of me as I was just playing my first game. I did not utilise my opportunities in the match but I will continue to fight in my next game.”