04 Feb 2017

Sweden’s Anton Källberg and Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar, the top two seeds in the Men’s Singles event at the Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships being staged in Sochi, Russia duly secured first places in their respective groups on Friday 3rd February.

It was the same for Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic, the no.3 seed; however for Elias Ranefur, like Anton Källberg from Sweden, it was a day of misfortune. Early in proceedings, he injured his hand and was forced to withdraw from proceedings.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

There were few problems for Tomislav Pucar. He accounted for Poland’s Patryk Zatowka (11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9), before overcoming Sweden’s Simon Berglund (11-8, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9) and Romania’s Alexandru Manole (11-3, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4).

“I expected I can beat him, it was good match for the start”, Tomislav Pucar after overcoming Patryk Zatowka

A comfortable day for Tomislav Pucar; for Darko Jorgic life was more testing. After beating Turkey’s Abdullah Yigenler in five games (16-14, 13-15, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3), he was extended the full seven games distance by Patryk Zatowka’s colleague, Marek Badowski (11-7, 6-11, 11-13, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10, 11-7).

Two wins under the belt, Darko Jorgic completed the day in some style; he beat Gleb Shamruk of Belarus in straight games (11-5, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7).

“It is little bit strange to play with such a system, with another round of group matches for the seeded players but I do not expect any troubles on my path to the knock out phase tomorrow”, Darko Jorgic at the start of play.

Difficulties for Darko Jorgic but not when compared with Anton Källberg; after beating Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen (11-6, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 15-13), he lost to Tomas Kotowski, like Patryk Zatowka and Marek Badowski from Poland. He experienced defeat in five games (11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9).

The possibility of elimination; immediately Anton Källberg responded. He accounted for England’s Tom Jarvis in four straight games (11-5, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4). Success meant that he finished the group with two wins, the same number as Tom Jarvis; the Englishman having earlier beaten Tomasz Kotowski (6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8) and Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen (7-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-2).

“The key was to make no mistakes on the receive game. He plays unbelievable. So far we never played against each other but I studied his game on the YouTube”, Tomasz Kotowski after beating Anton Källberg.

Meanwhile, in the group vacated by Elias Ranefur, the player to seize the advantage was Slovenia’s Deni Kozul.

He secured first place in the group by overcoming Denmark’s Anders Lind in a tense seven games duel decided by the narrowest of margins (9-11, 11-6, 5-11, 13-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9), before defeating Hungary’s Bence Majoros to seal top spot (11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 12-10).

Players finishing in first and second places in each group advance to the main draw; in addition to Tom Jarvis, in the top four groups there were second places for Patryk Zatowka, Marek Badowski and Anders Lind.

 Day Two: Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships
Photos: Alex Lomaev – Butterfly

Latest results: Stag European Under 21 Championships.

Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships Darko Jorgic Anton Källberg Tomislav Pucar