by Ian Marshall & Simon Daish
Marcos Freitas, the no.4 seed, who in his opening match, had been beaten by Andrej Gacina, the no.9 seed, in four straight games (11-7, 11-7, 11-3), recovered his form to overcome Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson, the no.8 seed, by a similar margin the defeat suffered earlier.
In commanding fashion he won in three straight games (12-10, 11-4, 11-8).
“I’m happy. I didn’t have the best start today, I lost to Andrej Gacina in the first match but this is the group stage so anything is possible, I must fight until the end. After losing the first match three-nil I was a little bit afraid, I was not feeling very confident and didn’t have a feeling for the ball. Now with this victory I think I’m slowly coming back, I will fight in the last match and hopefully I can get through the group”, Marcos Freitas.
Impressive from Marcos Freitas; it was somewhat more testing for Andrej Gacina; he needed the full five games to beat Russia’s Alexander Shibaev (11-4, 7-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-2).
Success for Marcos Freitas but some one hour earlier it had been defeat for colleague João Monteiro, who was not able to repeat the feat of one year ago on home soil in Gondomar when in the concluding group stage contest, he defeated Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov (11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9).
One year later Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the eventual winner, extracted revenge; the top seed he beat João Monteiro, the no.13 seed, in four games (11-3, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9).
Meanwhile, in the corresponding group phase contest, Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no.5 seed, overcame Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.15 seed but it was close.
Simon Gauzy prevailed as status predicted but he needed the full five games to ensure victory (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8).
2017 ITTF-Europe Top 16: Watch the proceedings unfold, live streaming from Antibes each day