by Simon Daish
Three Slovakian contestants launched their 2016 Swedish Open campaigns with a win, with the trio leading their respective groups heading into the second round of play: Samuel Kaluzny, Samuel Novota and Tomas Kopanyi.
Samuel Kaluzny’s encounter with Chile’s Alejandro Rodriguez in group 7 was decided in five ends with the Slovak player taking the win (11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7), and success against Kim Donghyun of Korea Republic in the next tie will be enough to see Kaluzny top the group.
Group 15 hosted Samuel Novota’s fixture against the host country’s Oscar Perman; Novota was trailing 1-2 following the conclusion of the third end but the capture of three successive games gave the Slovakian the match with a 4-2 scoreline (9-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8) gaining two valuable group points for the win.
However, arguably the standout performer from the Slovakian trio was Tomas Kopanyi who recovered from 1-3 down, before claiming three games in a row to escape defeat (12-10, 11-13, 11-6, 11-3, 8-11, 11-13, 9-11).
Japan also saw three of their players succeed after the first round of matches; Masaki Takami leads group 10 following his success against Thailand’s Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon (11-6, 11-4, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7) while there were also wins for Keiya Uemura and Takuto Izumo in groups 18 and 23.
The host nation Sweden enjoyed a relatively positive experience on day one of the Men’s Singles with nine of their representatives picking up victories in their opening round encounters, and there was also a strong showing from all four of China’s competitors taking part in the qualifying groups.
Li Yijie recovered from a game down to see off Chinese Taipei’s Sun Chia-Hung in six ends (7-11, 13-11, 11-8, 13-11, 6-11, 11-6), with Zhao Zihao also winning his tie in the sixth game over Singapore’s Chew Zhe Yu Clarence (12-10, 11-2, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5). The two other Chinese players to prevail were Song Xu and Wang Chuqin who respectively defeated Brian Afanador (11-8, 12-10, 11-9, 11-6) and Yang Tzu-Yi (11-4, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5) in straight games.
The remaining qualfying group matches in the Men’s Singles category will take place on the second day of the 2016 Swedish Open on the 15th November.
The opening day at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open
Tuesday 15th November: Men’s Singles – Qualification Group Stages