19 Oct 2016

The pen-hold grip player partnering the shake-hands grip exponent; the combination has worked time and time again.

On Wednesday 19th October in the opening round of the Mixed Doubles event at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary, the combination worked once again; it produced the major first round shock.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Spain’s Jesus Cantero, the pen-holder and Maria Xiao, the shake-hands grip exponent, accounted for Robert Gardos and Liu Jia, the no.2 seeds (11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 18-16) on what was not the best of fortunes for Austria.

Added to the demise of Robert Gardos and Liu Jia was that of Chen Weixing and Sofia Polcanova, the no.9 seeds, they were beaten by the host nation’s Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel (11-3, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 11-4).

Notably, Jesus Cantero is one of the very few born and bred European players of the post war era to adopt the pen-hold grip style of play and succeed on the international scene.

The other name to gain notable success by adopting the grip was Serbia’s Milivoj Karakasevic in the 1960s and 1970s. He was most adept in the art of doubles and it would appear that skill has been passed on to his son.

Aleksandar Karakasevic in partnership with Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene, the top seeds, duly made a successful start to their campaign, they overcame the combination of Russia’s Kirill Skachkov and the Slovak Republic’s Eva Odorova in four games (11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6).

Success for the top seeds and there was success for the third seeds; Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson and Matilda Ekholm beat Germany’s Benedikt Duda and Sabine Winter (11-7, 11-9, 11-6).

Wins for notable pairings and there was victory for another partnership of pedigree.

England’s Liam Pitchford and Tin Tin Ho, the silver medallists in the Mixed Doubles event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, caused an upset. They recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Portugal’s João Geraldo and Fu Yu, the no.16 seeds (6-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8).

Play in the Mixed Doubles event continues on Thursday 20th October.


Liebherr EC Robert Gardos Liu Jia Aleksandar Karakasevic Ruta Paskauskiene Jesus Cantero MariaXiao