by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
He beat Timo Boll, the no.3 seed, in six games (11-8, 3-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7) and thus severely dented the hopes of the German making an appearance in the Liebherr 2017 Men’s World Cup to be staged later in the year in Liège, the Belgian city being one of the two locations where Timo Boll secured the prestigious title.
After winning in Jinan in 2002, three years later in Liège, following defeat in the group stage when facing Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus; Timo Boll beat the Chinese trio of Wang Liqin, Ma Lin and Wang Hao to claim the title.
In Antibes it was defeat but it could hardly be described as an upset. In World ranking events, Timo Boll and Simon Gauzy had met on two previous occasions; both in 2016 and both had resulted in wins for the Frenchman.
Simon Gauzy emerged successful in Kuala Lumpur at the Perfect World Team Championships and at the Liebherr European Championships. However in the latter, Timo Boll had been forced to concede after the end of the third game of their Men’s Singles semi-final duel through injury.
“I performed quite well, I’ve beaten him the last four times so it was hard for him to play against me but in the end he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t allow himself to lose four or five times in a row to the same player so I had to think about two, three, four types of different tactics against him. He played incredibly aggressive in the second and third games so I had to play a little bit faster, a little bit more aggressive and it worked out”, Simon Gauzy after beating Timo Boll
Success for Simon Gauzy contrary to seeding, the win rather overshadowing the efforts of Ukraine’s Kou Lei who did cause an upset; the no.12 seed, making his first appearance in the tournament, he beat Croatia’s Andrej Gacina, the no.9 seed, in seven games (11-7, 11-7, 8-11,9-11. 11-9, 11-8, 11-6).
2017 ITTF-Europe Top 16: Watch the proceedings unfold, live streaming from Antibes each day;