by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Listed at no.224 on the current Men’s World Rankings, he beat Frenchman, Benjamin Brossier, in a round that saw Latin American players embroiled in tense seven games duels. Maintaining his nerve, he emerged successful by the very narrowest of margins in the deciding game (12-10, 9-11, 4-11, 11-7, 7-11, 13-11, 13-11).
“I knew I had to play my very best table tennis to stand the chance against Benjamin. I kept calm all the way and made the most of every opportunity. He had a strong start in the final game I was in 8-3 down at one stage but still I was making the right decisions just the points went his way. Things changed I came back to 8-7, I was back in it. So it was and open game again that I could clinch 13-11; so far so good I am still in”, Marcelo Aguirre after beating Benjamin Brossier
Likewise, Brazilians Cazuo Matsumoto and Vitor Ishiy were involved in close encounters but unlike Marcelo Aguirre both suffered defeat.
Cazuo Matsumoto was beaten by fellow Latin American, Mexico’s Marcos Madrid (11-2, 10-12, 11-9, 5-11, 9-11, 15-13, 11-8); Vitor Ishiy suffered at the hands of Portugal’s João Geraldo (7-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7).
“The key factor was for me was I never gave up, I kept fighting and fighting. I tried to play more aggressively step by step as the feeling and the movement came together”, Marcos Madrid after defeating Cazuo Matsumoto
However, there was good news for the country which successfully hosted the 2016 Olympic Games; Thiago Monteiro caused France more pain. He ended the hopes of his team mate Paul Gauzy (10-12, 14-12, 12-10, 12-10, 11-5). Both play in Pro A of the French League for Istres alongside Benjamin Brossier and Egypt’s Omar Assar.
“It is always hard to play against your team mate so it was today; we played an amazing match which was decided by the little details on the key points. today I could be a bit more aggressive and was consistent. I still have to work on the feeling for the next round. I think there is more in me”, Thiago Monteiro after accounting for Paul Gauzy.
Defeat for one aspiring young Frenchmen, in a much closer contest, it was defeat for another; Alexandre Robinot was beaten by Germany’s Ricardo Walther (9-11, 3-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 12-10). A close reverse for France; there was also a close success; Enzo Angles recovered from a three games to nil deficit to beat the Czech Republic’s Dmitrij Prokopcov in a nail-biting duel (10-12, 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 13-11)
Victories by narrow margins; they were more.
Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi, the winner in 2015, needed tseven games to beat the Slovak Republic’s Lubomir Pistej (9-11, 16-18, 11-7, 11-3, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9).
Similarly, the Czech Republic’s Jiro Vrablik was stretched the full distance by Romania’s Hunor Szocs (11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-13, 11-5, 11-3), whilst Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck only emerged successful by the very minimal margin when opposing Frane Kojic (9-11, 9-11, 11-4, 12-10, 9-11, 13-11, 12-10).
Tense times; it was the very same for Pavel Platonov of Belarus; he was severely tested by Sweden’s Harald Andersson, only emerging victorious by the minimal two point margin (11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9).
England’s Liam Pitchford and Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic, the leading two names in the Men’s Singles qualification stage enter proceedings in the second preliminary round.