by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
In the opening round of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event, the no.27 seed, he had beaten Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang, the no.4 seed (5-11 13-11, 11-3, 7-11, 11-4).
Later in the Men’s Singles competition, after having accounted for Serbia’s Vladimir Radonjic in a close seven games encounter (11-6, 11-13, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 7-11, 11-5), he caused a major upset. He beat Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi in an even closer full distance duel (8-11, 11-13, 11-5, 11-9, 1-11, 12-10, 15-13).
“I had good preparation and I watched him many times. The game I lost 11-1 made me think I had to change things around and be more positive; I started to feel he was becoming nervous, that gave me more strength. I am ready for tomorrow”, Simon Berglund after beating Gustavo Tsuboi
Success for Simon Berglund, listed at no.327 on the current Men’s World Rankings against an adversary named at no.79, meant that he concluded the day as one of two players to end the hopes of an adversary named in the top one hundred of the global order.
The other was Russia’s Denis Ivonin, in a similar nail-biting duel, as Simon Berglund had experienced against Gustavo Tsuboi; named at no.363 on the Men’s World Rankings, the Russian recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Frenchman Stéphane Ouiache (4-11, 8-11, 14-16, 11-4, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10). Thus he preserved his unbeaten record and secured top spot in the group.
“I never lost faith in my strategy; I kept going forward and fighting for every single point. I knew I had a chance to win” Denis Ivonin after accounting for Stéphane Ouaiche
Disappointment for Brazil and France but there was the reverse side of the coin. Named at no.279 on the Men’s World Rankings, Paul Gauzy beat Spain’s Carlos Machado, listed at no.108 (11-8, 3-11, 13-11, 17-15, 10-12, 11-9) to bring smiles to French faces as did Andrea Landieu. Standing at no.202, he defeated Nigeria’s Bode Aboidun, ranked no.188 (12-10, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8. 11-7, 11-6).
Similarly, there was good news for Brazil Vitor Ishy overcame Belgium’s Florent Lambiet (11-3, 13-11, 5-11, 11-8, 13-11) to secure pole position.
Surprises and as the day concluded there were more as unexpected names remained unbeaten to reserve first places.
Standing at no.283, Slovenia’s Deni Kozul caused Belgium more pain by overcoming Robin Devos, ranked no.112 (11-4, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 4-11, 11-7). Likewise, Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki accounted for England’s Sam Walker (12-10, 10-12, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8); whilst Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre defeated the Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirucek (11-7, 12-10, 11-13, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8).
“Zoltan Batorfi gave me good guidance and ideas how to play against Sam. I made really good decisions on crucial points that gave me the edge. I am very happy about this win I can’t even put it into words”, Nandor Ecseki after overcoming Sam Walker
Presently, Nandor Ecseki stands at no.273 on the Men’s World Rankings, Sam Walker is at no.126; somewhat similarly, Marcelo Aguirre is at no.224, Pavel Sirucek at no.164.
Defeat for the Czech Republic, success for Hungary but there was also the reverse situation. Listed at no.208 in the global order, Tomas Polansky ended the hopes of Tamas Lakatos, named at no.180.
Surprises but other than for Stéphane Ouiache, the fourth leading name on first phase duty, it was first place in the group. England’s Liam Pitchford, Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic and the Slovak Republic’s Wang Yang all finished in top places.
The preliminary rounds will be held on Wednesday 18th January; the main event commences on Thursday 19th January.