by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Omar Assar, the no.15 seed, was beaten by Germany’s Wang Xi, perhaps not the most familiar name on the international scene but a player of note; a defender by trade, he represents TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell in the powerful German Bundesliga.
Impressively, Wang Xi won in four straight games (11-2, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7); the 24 year old from Cairo never able to find a an answer to the technical skills of his adversary.
Success for one defender against expectations, for the Slovak Republic’s Wang Yang and Panagiotis Gionis of Greece, both players of a similar ilk to Wang Xi, it was defeat. Both suffered at Chinese hands.
Wang Yang was beaten by Fang Bo, the no.3 seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7); Panagiotis Gionis, the no.12 seed, experienced defeat when facing Yan An (13-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9), a player who had been required to compete in the qualification tournament.
Relatively comfortable margins of victory; it was not the situation for Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.7 seed; he was stretched to the limit by Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi, the winner in Hungary in 2015.
The 20 year old from Rio de Janeiro, who now plies his skills at the German Club, TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen, eventually emerged successful by the very narrowest of seven games margins (13-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 5-11, 14-12).
“I was leading three-one and Ii felt had the control over the game. I was playing well and doing the right things. He found the way to fight back; it was three-three and I was 8-4 down in the last game. I had to be strong mentally and fight for the victory eventually I won the match on my second match point. It was a hard fought battle; I won that’s what matters”, Hugo Calderano after beating Jiang Tianyi
In round two Fang Bo meets Wang Xi, Yan An opposes Hugo Calderano.