by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Experience counted for Vladimir Samsonov, the top seed, as he accounted for Frenchman 24 year old Quentin Robinot (7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9, 11-4); now very much a senior statesman in the sport, he is the oldest player on duty in Budapest.
“It’s a new year new challenge for me. I had a little bit of break and I feel fresh again. In the first couple of games we had long hard rallies it was really tough in the last game, I think I was a bit lucky. It is a nice start to the first competition of the year for me”, Vladimir Samsonov after beating Quentin Robinot
However, he can take some solace from the fact that he won and had Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic negotiated the qualification rounds of the Men’s Singles competition and Yana Timina the same in the Women’s Singles event, he would have been the third in longevity.
Vladimir Samsonov is four months younger than Aleksandar Karakasevic and over a year younger than Yana Timina. It worries me, I remember them all as aspiring junior players!
Success for Vladimir Samsonov as predicted, it was the same for Jakub Dyjas but it was a close call; the no.13 seed, he was extended the full seven games by Spain’s Alvaro Robles (11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 11-8), a player who is no stranger to the Polish star. Both play in the German Bundesliga.
“I knew it would not be an easy first round as we practise together every day. I controlled the first few games but then he kept it tight with short play and he was more aggressive, soon it was three-three. I had to adapt to the changes so Icould turn it back round again. I am glad i am trough to the next round”, Jajub Dyjas after beating Alvaro Robles.
A tough test for Jakub Dyjas, less so for Zhou Yu and Shang Kun; Zhou Yu, the no.10 seed, beat England’s Liam Pitchford who after the end of the third game retired with an arm injury (11-3, 11-6, 11-6, 11-0); whilst Shang Kun upset the seeding. He ended the hopes of Austria’s Stefan Fegerl (7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5, 14-12).
“I feel great now having recovered from the jet lag and I have got used to the venue and the competition atmosphere. I played good tactics and put his backhand under great pressure that gave me the chance to play my game”, Shang Kun after overcoming Stefan Fegerl
In round two, Vladimir Samsonov meets Jakub Dyjas, Zhou Yu opposes Shang Kun.