04 Feb 2017

Belgium’s Martin Allegro was very much the player to attract the attention as matters progressed in the second stage of the Men’s Singles event at the Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships in Sochi, Russia on Friday 3rd February, the stage at which the top eight names entered the fray.

After accounting for the host nation’s Konstantin Chernov (11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 12-10, 12-14, 11-8), he caused a major upset by beating Romania’s Cristian Pletea, the no.6 seed (9-11, 13-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Confident, he duly completed his day’s efforts with victory in opposition to Aliaksandr Khanin of Belarus (11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 4-11, 14-16, 12-10, 11-5).

Defeat for Cristian Pletea but titles hopes remain alive; he accounted for Aliaksandr Khanin by the very narrowest of margins in his opening contest (6-11, 12-10, 12-10, 12-10, 10-12, 15-17, 13-11) prior to overcoming Konstatin Chernov in his concluding contest (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5).

“My confidence was the key point today. It was a long match but I had a faith I could win it. I did not lose my grip and I gave my best to impose my style of play. I did not want to give him chance to take control over match”, Cristian Pletea after defeating Aliaksandr Khanin

Players finishing in first and second places in each of the eight second stage groups advance to the knock-out phase.

Defeat and no place in the main draw for Konstantin Chernov; it was the same for colleagues Sadi Ismailov and Vladimir Sidorenko, third and fourth place was their respective lot.

The contest against Romania’s Rares Sipos, who the previous day had suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Poland’s Marek Badoswski (13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 10-12, 11-8) very much sealed the fate of Sadi Ismailov. Despite vocal crowd support, he experienced defeat in six games (11-3, 8-11, 10-12, 15-13, 11-9, 11-3).

“I finished yesterday’s group stage in position number two with one defeat but I was not unhappy with my performance. I can only congratulate Marek Badowski on his excellent performance. The level I showed yesterday gave me confidence today. I did not mind the loud crowd. I love that kind of atmosphere. It inspires me. I enjoyed playing against Sadi”, Rares Sipos after overcoming Sadi Ismailov

Defeat at the hands of Rares Sipos; in his very next match, Sadi Ismailov was beaten by Germany’s Kilian Ort, the no.5 seed (11-3, 8-11, 10-12, 15-13, 11-9, 11-3); the die was cast. Later, Kilian Ort accounted for Rares Sipos (11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-13, 11-9, 11-5 to secure first place.

Eye catching performances and there was one more of note; the Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky, the no.8 seed, duly topped his group in style.

He remained unbeaten; his contest against the eventual second placed Nandior Ecseki of Hungary being the performance of note. He emerged successful in five games (11-4, 11-4, 11-8, 5-11, 11-2).

“One of the biggest benefits here is the opportunity to practise in the same hall. I started from day two but I am well prepared for the conditions, as well as facing the players who played yesterday’s matches. I played Ecseki twice before, two months ago I beat him easily, so it boosted my confidence before the start. I was not under pressure”, Tomas Polansky after overcoming Nandor Ecseki.

Confident, Tomas Polansky duly beat Portugal’s Diogo Chen (11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8) and Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko (17-15, 11-7, 8-11, 11-2, 8-11, 11-6) to conclude a most successful day.

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

Latest results: Stag European Under 21 Championships.

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Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships Rares Sipos Tomas Polansky Martin Allregro