18 Oct 2016

Outstanding earlier in the year in June, when reaching the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event on the ITTF World Tour in Korea, before losing to China’s Ma Long in a full distance seven games encounter, Frenchman Tristan Flore was the biggest casualty on the first day of play, Tuesday 18th October, at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships in Belgrade, Hungary.

The highest ranked player required to compete in the qualification phase of affairs, competing in a group that comprised five players, he experienced a shock defeat on his third visit to the table.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

After accounting for Iceland’s David Jonsson (11-1, 11-1, 11-5, 11-2) and San Marino’s Maro Vannucci (11-1, 11-1, 11-4, 11-1), he was beaten by 18 year old Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus (13-11, 9-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-7, 11-9); a young man who impressed one year earlier at the Liebherr 2015 European Championships in Ekaterinburg.

Notably in the Men’s Team event on that occasion, he beat Austria’s Daniel Habesohn; he is no stranger to causing upsets.

Furthermore, earlier he had overcome David Jonsson (11-8, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8) and thus alongside Poland’s Patryk Zatowka, who also played two matches on the opening day, remained unbeaten. Patryk Zatowka beat Marco Vannucci (11-4, 11-6, 11-4, 11-1) and David Jonsson (11-2, 11-3, 11-4, 11-2).

A surprise defeat for Tristan Flore; it was the very same for Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic; the fifth highest rated player in action, after overcoming Ewout Oostwouder of the Netherlands (11-7, 11-9, 11-7, 11-1), he experienced defeat at the hands of the host nation’s 19 year old Bence Majaros (11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9).

Earlier, Bence Majoros had accounted for Malta’s Gabriel Grixti (11-2, 11-2, 11-7, 11-2) and thus ended the day as the only unbeaten player in the group.

Success for Bence Majoros, there was also success for colleague, Adam Pattantyus, currently Hungary’s leading male player and the third highest rated player on qualification stage Men’s Singles duty.

The 38 year old remained unbeaten but he did experience some nervous moments; in his opening contest he was extended to six games by Israel’s Omri Ben Ari (8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6), before overcoming Laurens Tromers of the Netherlands, rather more comfortably (11-8, 12-10, 11-8, 11-3), to end the day unbeaten.

“It was the first time I had met Omri, I studied and analysed his game but I did make some mistakes at the beginning. I had to move much more then I planned. I did not guage the distance correctly. The service game was a problem for me at the beginning. Let’s go one step in the time. First I want to finish the group stage successfully. If I reach into Round of 32 it will be good achievement, if I manage to reach the Round of 16 it will be big success. It is a good feeling and when I hear “C’mon” from the stands, coming from the kids it is great inspiration for me. It helps me clear my mind and ease the pressure.” Adam Pattantyus

An unbeaten performance by Adam Pattantyus; with the exception of Tristan Flore and Aleksandar Karakasevic, it was the same for the other leading names.

Germany’s Steffen Mengel and Bendikt Duda, alongside Russia’s Mikhail Paikov, the Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik and Benjamin Brossier of France enjoyed a fruitful day.

Players finishing in first places in each of the 23 groups qualify directly for the second stage; drawn at random, the second placed players from 18 groups will play a preliminary round to determine the final names that will join the 32 seeds in main draw.

The preliminary round will commence at 6.00pm on Wednesday 19th October.

Liebherr 2016 European Championships: Watch live on Laola 1.TV

Liebherr EC Tristan Flore Aleksandar Karakasevic Aliaksandr Khanin Adam Pattantyus Bene Majoros