by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The no.14 seeds at the start of proceedings, with Artur Grela, Samuel Kulczycki and Kamil Nepa on duty, in their opening contest a three-nil win was recorded against the Norwegian trio formed by Sondre Berner, Mikkel Gudmundsen and Adrian Wetzel.
An impressive performance but it was very much as expected, Norway occupied the no.29 seeded spot in the competition; however the next win was against expectations. The Polish trio recorded the same margin of victory when facing the no.8 seeds, the Chinese Taipei trio formed by Feng Yi-Hsin, Huang Yan-Cheng and Tai Ming-Wei.
First position in the group secured a place in the main draw; for Chinese Taipei it was the end of the road. Only teams finishing in top spot in each group advanced to the second phase.
A place in the main draw but in the opening round it was defeat at the hands of Hungary ‘A’, the no.10 seeds, represented by Mate Bruckner, Istvan Molnar and Gergo Timafalvi.
Mainstay of the host nation success was Mate Bruckner; in the second match of the fixture, he recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Kamil Nalepa (5-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 13-11), before in the fifth and concluding contest, defeating Samuel Kulczycki (11-8, 11-7, 11-5).
The one further win for the Hungarians was secured by Istvan Molnar; in the fourth match of the engagement, he fought back from losing the opening two games to overcome Kamil Nalepa (8-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8). The wins for Poland were recorded by Samuel Kulczycki against Istvan Molnar (13-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-13, 11-8) and by Artur Grela when opposing Gergo Timafalvi (11-7, 5-11, 12-10, 11-3).
Defeat for Poland but it was defeat as status advised; however, in the one further first round contest that was required, there was an upset.
Occupying the no.9 seeded position in the competition, the combination formed by Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica, who joined forces with the Egyptian duo of Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Abdelrahman Rahmou, overcame the German trio of Tobias Hippler, Meng Fanbo and Jannik Xu, the no.7 seeds.
They prevailed in a full distance five match duel with Youssef Abdel-Aziz, the man of the moment. He beat Tobias Hippler in the opening match of the fixture (11-4, 12-10, 11-6), before in the crucial fifth and deciding contest, accounting for Jannik Xu (11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6).
The one remaining win for the victors was recorded by Abdelrahman Rahmou; in the third match of the contest, he overcame Meng Fanbo (11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 5-11, 11-6).
Meanwhile, the wins for Germany both came at the expense of Andrei Putuntica; it was not the Moldovan’s day. He was beaten in five games by Jannik Xu (11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 11-3) and by a similar margin when facing Tobias Hippler (9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 12-10, 11-3).
Quarter-final places booked; for the other teams it was a direct entry as a result of finishing in first place in the group.
Notably the top six seeded teams – Japan, France, Russia, Belgium, Romania, Italy – all remained unbeaten to secure places in the quarter-finals.
The Junior Boys’ Team event concludes on Saturday 5th November.