19 Oct 2016

Winner earlier in the year in Croatia on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, Ioannis Sgouropoulos, alongside Poland’s Tomasz Lewandowski and Austria’s David Serdaroglu, were very much the players to attract attention, as the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships came to a close on Wednesday 19th October.

All three started the event as the third highest rated player in their respective groups; all three concluded proceedings in first place.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Most impressive was Tomasz Lewandowski; presently listed at no.341 on the Men’s World Rankings, in the opening contest in the group one day earlier, he had beaten Romania’s Hunor Szocs, at no.117, the highest rated player in the group (12-10, 13-11, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9).

One day later, in his concluding group stage contest, he caused yet another upset; he accounted for the Czech Republic’s Tomislav Kolarek (11-4, 11-3, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9) to secure pole position. Presently, Tomislav Kolarek is named at no.184 on the Men’s World Rankings.

Unbeaten, it was very much the direct route for Tomislav Kolarek; for Ioannis Sgouropoulos and David Serdaroglu life was more testing.

Both experienced defeats on the opening day of play against the highest rated player in their respective groups.

Currently at no.324 on the Men’s World Rankings, David Serdaroglu was narrowly beaten in seven games by Italy’s Mihai Bobocica, named at no.107 (8-11, 11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6, 12-10). In a somewhat similar fashion, Ioannis Sgouropoulos, listed at 439 lost to Serbia’s Zsolt Peto, who stands at no.132 in the global order (11-8, 14-12, 11-6, 10-12, 8-11, 9-11, 11-6).

Narrow defeats, in their respective concluding group stage matches; it was hard fought wins against adversaries who, on the first day of action, had caused upsets by beating the conquerors of David Serdaroglu and Ioannis Sgouropoulos.

Tamas Lakatos, ranked no.196, had beaten Mihai Bobocica in seven games (8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 15-13, 8-11, 11-7); the latter’s colleague, Niagol Stoyanov, listed at no.147, had overcome Zsolt Peto in similar circumstances (14-12, 13-15, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4).

Fighting performances one day later, David Serdaroglu beat Hungary’s Tamas Lakatos in six games (12-10, 11-5, 15-17, 9-11, 14-12, 15-13), Ioannis Sgouropoulos accounted for Italy’s Niagol Stoyanov by a similar margin (12-10, 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-13, 11-6).

Thus games ratio decided; David Serdaroglu finished in first place in his group (7:6), ahead of Mihai Boboica (7:7) and Tomas Lakatos (6:7). Similarly Ioannis Sgouropoulos secured top spot (7:6) with Zsolt Peto next in line (7:7) and Niagol Stoyanov in third position (6:7).

Surprise first places and there were two more; Italy’s Leonardo Mutti and Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic both started proceedings as the second highest rated in their respective groups.

Leonardo Mutti who had caused an upset on the opening day by beating Austria’s Daniel Habesohn (11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 12-10), concluded his first phase matches with victory over Estonia’s Vallot Vainula (11-8, 12-10, 11-6, 13-11).

Similarly, Darko Jorgic accounted for Gleb Shamruk of Belarus (11-3, 11-8, 12-10, 11-7), having on the opening day caused a surprise by beating Spain’s Alvaro Robles (14-12, 9-11, 15-13, 13-11, 6-11, 14-12).

On the current Men’s World Rankings, Leonardo Mutti is at no.188, Daniel Habesohn at no.95; Darko Jorgic is at no.167, Alvaro Robles at no.127.

Liebherr EC Ioannis Sgouropoulos David Serdaroglu TomaszLewandowski