by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Pertinently, earlier in the day, colleagues Patrick Franziska and Ruwen Filus had experienced surprise defeats; both lost to players, who like Benedikt Duda, had been required to negotiate the qualification stage of affairs.
Patrick Franziska, the no.23 seed, was beaten by Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan (12-10, 6-11, 3-11, 11-7, 15-13, 11-9); Ruwen Filus, the no.25 seed, disappeared at the hands of Japan’s Masaki Yoshida (13-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7).
Arguably of all the leading German players, the 22 year old is the one to make the most progress in recent times; one year ago in November 2015, he was listed at no.141 on the Men’s World Rankings, he is now at no.67.
Success for Benedikt Duda and there was also success for another German who is on the edge of selection for major events; the only difference was the success gained by Steffen Mengel, who had been on duty at the TMS 2014 European Team Championships in Lisbon, was as expected. The no.31 seed, he overcame Korea’s Kim Donghyun (11-7, 4-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7).
Defeat for Alexander Shibaev against expectations; in the lower half of the first round draw, in addition to Ruwen Filus, three more seeds suffered the same fate.
Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, the no.24 seed, was beaten by Chinese Taipei’s Yeh Chih-Wei in a contest determined by the minimal margin in the deciding seventh game (7-11, 11-9, 11-3, 6-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-9). Likewise Portugal’s João Geraldo suffered against India’s Harmeet Desai (11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10, 6-11, 11-9), whilst Belgium’s Martin Allegro ended the hopes of Sweden’s Pär Gerell (10-12, 13-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9).
João Geraldo commenced matters as the no.28 seed, Pär Gerell was the no.17 seed.
Upsets but for Portugal’s Marcos Freitas and Tiago Apolonia, as for China’s Zhou Yu; it was a successful passage to round two. All three justified their highly rated status in the Men’s Singles event.
Competing in the lower half of the draw, Marcos Freitas, the no.2 seed, beat China’s Song Xu (11-6, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6); Zhou Yu, the no.4 seed, overcame Frenchman Antoine Hachard (4-11, 11-6, 11-1, 7-11, 11-4, 11-1), whilst Tiago Apolonia, the no.5 seed, accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Hung-Chieh (11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8).