20 Oct 2016

Runner up just over one year ago in September at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Belgium Open, beaten at the final hurdle by Iran’s Nima Alamian; Romania’s Hunor Szocs was the player to cause the biggest upset in the first round of the Men’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2016 ITTF European Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

On the evening of Thursday 20th October, the 24 year old who had been required to compete in two days of qualification matches rose to the occasion.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

He beat Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, the no.5 seed, in six hard fought games (6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2, 9-11, 11-9) to reserve his place in the second round of proceedings.

Success against the odds for Hunor Szocs but as matters closed on the third day of action, he was one of only two players competing in the lower half of the Men’s Singles first round draw to cause an upset.

The other to upset the pecking order was the Czech Republic’s Dmitrij Prokopcov; he overcame the defensive skills of the Slovak Republic’s Wang Yang (12-10, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9).

Otherwise, it was success as status predicted with, in particular, Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, Germany’s Timo Boll and Frenchman, Simon Gauzy, all candidates for honours, enjoying success.

Vladimir Samsonov, the no.2 seed, accounted for Switzerland’s Elia Schmid (10-12, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9); Timo Boll, the no.4 seed, overcame Austria’s Daniel Habesohn (11-4, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4), whilst Simon Gauzy, the no.6 seed, ended the hopes of Spain’s Jesus Cantero (12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8).”

It was good for me to have match like that at the very beginning of the Championships. Short matches are something I need to get back into the game. I know the level of matches will improve and I know I can expect much harder challenges in next few days but for a start this was good. I had a break, I did not practise too much; there is still big uncertainty about the level of my fitness. I do not know how far I can go; for sure I am motivated but I must see how my body will react. I look at this stage like one step in my come back2, Timo Boll

The defeat of Jesus Cantero also meant it was the end of Spanish hopes; earlier Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov had beaten Marc Duran (11-6, 11-9, 11-3, 13-11). Kristian Karlsson had defeated Carlos Machado (11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5).

Similarly, the aspirations of the host nation in the Men’s Singles event came to a close.  

Following the defeat of Adam Szudi by Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.3 seed (11-5, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8); Adam Pattantyus was beaten by Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson (11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 1-11, 11-1).

Play in the second round of the Men’s Singles event will take place on Friday 21st October.

Liebherr EC Tiago Apolonia Hunor Szocs Wang Yang Dmitrij Prokopov