by Simon Daish
Simon Pfeffer and Daniel Habesohn were two of 12 home competitors who began their campaign in the qualification group stages of the 2016 Austrian Open, but the home fans were left with a mixed bag of results on day one as the battle for the Men’s Singles main draw commenced.
The highest seeded Austrian participating in the group stage is Habesohn (43rd) and the 30-year-old alongside Pfeffer managed to enjoy a positive showing. Habesohn won his opening group 11 match against Juan Lamadrid (CHI) in six ends, while Pfeffer sits joint top of group 18 following his triumph over Samuel Kaluzny (SVK).
However, despite strong performances from Pfeffer and Habesohn there were disappointing results for the other Austrian contestants in action including defeats for David Vorcnik and Krisztian Gardos.
Gardos went into the event having won a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in the Men’s Class 10 category, but unfortunately for the Austrian a tough group in Linz led to an early exit:
“It is nice to be a part of such a big event. I wanted to get some rhythm, which is something I succeeded with in the second game but I’ve lost by 11-13. I was still a bit stiff, as I have already travelled 1300 kilometers by car this week” – Krisztian Gardos (AUT) following his defeat to Eric Jouti (BRA).
While the majority of focus from the attending spectators may have been drawn to the Austrian players, it was the French contingent of competitors who enjoyed a successful day for the most part.
Nine Men’s Singles players from France registered victories on the opening day of the Open, as the likes of Benjamin Brossier and Paul Gauzy didn’t disappoint in their matches.
Mikhail Paikov (RUS) was just one of the higher ranked players to get off to a strong start in Linz, with his win against Iran’s Midya Lotfollah Nasabi in group 1. Anton Kallberg (SWE), Cedric Nuytinck (BEL) and Cho Eonrae (KOR) also picked up positive outcomes in their encounters opening the door for a potential place in the main event assuming day two goes according to plan for the mentioned names.
Group 5 could prove to lead to an interesting scenario with the potential that all three players could still end up finishing the group on three points. Alexander Franzen (SWE) beat David Serdaroglu (AUT) in the opener but lost out to Korea Republic’s Kim Donghyun in straight games, and a shock win for Serdaroglu over Kim on day two could leave the group all level at its conclusion.
Wednesday 9th November: Men’s Singles – Qualification Group Stages