by Simon Daish
Before the action had even begun in Budapest the tie between Leonardo Mutti (ITA) and Daniel Habesohn (AUT) was expected to be the match that would settle who would take top spot in group 12 and while the qualifying group remains wide open heading into the second day of action the advantage now sits in Mutti’s court.
Mutti’s much anticipated tie with Habesohn was very much built up in the latter players’s direction. Seeded 44th for the Men’s Singles category Habesohn was the favourite to take the points against Mutti (67th), however, it was the Italian player who prevailed winning after five games to steal control of the group.
Bence Majoros (HUN) has taken the lead in group five with four points on the board gaining an impressive win against higher ranked Aleksandar Karakasevic (SRB). Adam Pattantyus and Tamas Lakatos are the other two Hungarians who are currently top of their groups, while Daniel Kosiba (HUN) and Adam Szudi (HUN) are both second after day one.
Elsewhere in the draw there was little trouble for the likes of Benjamin Brossier (FRA) and Steffen Mengel (GER); Anton Kallberg avoided an early defeat requiring seven games to overcome Deni Kozul (SLO), and Belgian duo Cedric Nuytinck and Robin Devos are also well placed to progress.
There was one standout player on the opening day of the Women’s Singles tournament, with Bulgaria’s Maria Yovkova producing some fine results in group 15.
Yovkova is the lowest seeded contestant in her group but she didn’t let that statistic affect her confidence levels as she claimed two upset wins. First up for Yovkova (94th) was Aikaterini Toliou of Greece (56th); a four-nil win went to the Bulgarian and before long Yovkova made it two victories from two matches, beating Natalia Brinza (Moldova) four-one.
Alex Galic (SLO) also leads the group and will face Maria Yovkova on day two in the battle for automatic qualification for the main draw.
Romania has two players at the summit of their qualification groups: Camelia Iacob proved too challenging for Eline Loyen (BEL) and Anelia Karova (BUL), and Irina Ciobanu is in first position in group 12 after her brace which included a seven games win against Izabela Lupulesku (SRB).
The Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky and Renata Strbikova took part in the closest opening day Mixed Doubles match, as opponents Rajko Gommers (NED) and Jennifer Jonsson (SWE) put up a brave fight.
Both Doubles pairings won alternating games and neither team could be separated after four ends, but eventually the Czech partnership of Polansky and Strbikova took the win to move into the second preliminary round.
Tobias Rasmussen and Stefanie Christensen of Denmark eliminated Konstantinos Papageorgiou (GRE) and Georgia Zavitsanou (GRE), and Croatians Tomislav Pucar and Mateja Jeger also qualified for the next stage.
Liebherr 2016 European Championships: Watch live on Laola 1.TV
Tuesday 19th October: Men’s Singles – Qualification Group Stages
Tuesday 19th October: Women’s Singles – Qualification Stage
Tuesday 19th October: Mixed Doubles – Preliminary Rounds