by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
An upset but it was not the only surprise as matters commenced in the Under 21 Men’s Singles competition with the host nation having cause to rejoice; Istvan Molnar, the no.32 seed, accounted for Frenchman Andrea Landrieu, the no.7 seed (12-10, 11-6, 11-6).
“I knew he was the seventh seed but I wasn’t scared, the pressure was on him and not on me, I always try to play my best game and with my best game I believed I could beat him. We had never played before but my coach, Ivan Vitsek, had played against him so we discussed tactics and watched some of his previous matches before we played. I wasn’t stressed and I felt focused all throughout the match, the first game made a big difference I was 10-8 up and then Andrea brought it back to 10-10 but thankfully I managed to win the game 12-10 which gave me the confidence to win the next 2 games”, Istvan Molnar after beating Andrea Landrieu
Success against the odds for Simon Berglund and Istvan Molnar; it was the same for Thailand’s Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon and Slovenia’s Deni Kozul.
Supanut Wisutmaythangkoon, the no.26 seed, recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Germany’s Kilian Ort, the no.6 seed (5-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9), whilst Deni Kozul, the no.20 seed, defeated Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus, the no.15 seed (11-3, 3-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-6).
Surprises but not where the top two names were concerned. Can Akkuzu of France, the top seed, beat Ioannis Sgouropoulos of Greece, the no.28 seed (9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8); Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko, the no.2 seed, overcame Denmark’s Anders Lind, the no.25 seed (11-7, 11-8, 12-10).
“I had to adapt to his style. I started using my forehand a lot more and started to move better and opened the game a little bit more. He is a very good young player but as I started to feel my game better I think I was able to make better decisions in the crucial points. In the last game when we were neck to neck (3-3, 5-5, 5-7, 7-7, 8-8, 11-8). It was a tough first round”, Can Akkuzu after beating Ioannis Sgouropoulos
Mixed fortunes for France with the win posted by Can Akkuzu and the defeat experienced by Andrea Landrieu; there was to be a further reverse as Slovenia enjoyed more success.
However, it was no surprise; in addition to the upset win posted by Deni Kozul, Darko Jorgic, the no.3 seed, ended the hopes of Irvin Bertrand, the no.30 seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-6)