by Simon Daish
Groups of Five
The qualifying group stage of the Women’s Singles category consists mainly of groups of four players, but there are also three groups featuring five players: group one, group two and group three.
Ganna Gaponova (UKR) currently sits top of group one after day one victories over Ilirjana Haliti (KOS), Ipek Karahan (TUR) and Oceane Guisnel (FRA), but with Belarus’s Alina Nikitchanka having won twice and with a game in hand over Gaponova the battle for first in the group is well and truly on.
Group three has Britt Errland (NED) leading the way on six points, and Spain’s Galia Dvorak has dropped just a single end to take advantage of group 2.
Main Draw in Sight
Speaking of Spanish players, there is a strong possibility that all four of the country’s contestants taking part in the round could progress. Keeping in line with fellow compatriot Dvorak, both Sara Ramirez and Maria Xiao are top of their groups and Zhang Xuan is still in with a chance of the main draw currently occupying the runner up position in group 13.
Looking ahead to some of the other groups; Poland’s Natalia Bajor and Klaudia Kusinska are in a decent situation with both players holding four points, Sarah De Nutte (LUX) requires just one more win to take group 11 and Ruta Paskauskiene (LTU) will aim to pick up a third consecutive straight games victory.
When the draw for group one of the Men’s Singles event was made, Tristan Flore was expected to enjoy a fairly straightforward experience. However, the Frenchman could find himself in trouble of missing out on the main draw following his day one loss to Aliaksandr Khanin (BLR).
Flore has just one more match remaining to put his name into the draw for the next round but with a tricky encounter against Patryk Zatowka (POL) awaiting and with Flore’s main rivals holding an extra game in hand over him, group one could be set for a dramatic finale.
Everything Still to Play for
With matches from all 23 Men’s Singles qualifying groups still to come, there’s plenty riding on the outcome of day two’s fixtures.
Lubomir Jancarik (CZE) may be ahead in group seven but with just one point separating him from Sadi Ismailov (RUS) there is still a possibility that Jancarik could fall down the board. England’s Samuel Walker leads group 18 after a successful opening day’s play but a slip up against Lars Ronneberg (NOR) could put Walker in trouble.
There are two groups in particular that could see high profile players face an early exit from the category. Austria’s Daniel Habesohn (44th) may be in trouble having lost one of his opening two matches in group 12, and 45th seed Mihai Bobocica (ITA) enters the second day in third position in group 13.
Day two will see both the Men’s and Women’s Doubles competitions begin with preliminary round ties, while the Mixed Doubles category will end the day with action from the main draw.
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