by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
He recovered from a three games to nil deficit to beat Portugal’s João Geraldo in a hard fought seven games contest (9-11, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7).
“We know each other very well as we have played and trained together in the past in the same club team in the Second League in Germany. He was not too comfortable against me as I have already beaten him a few times before. I started to receive service better during the fourth game and I was able to turn a nil-three down to a four-three win.” Kilian Ort.
Defeat for João Geraldo but he was not the only prominent name to experience defeat as matters progressed in the top half of the Men’s Singles draw.
Canada’s Eugene Wang, the no.5 seed, was beaten by the fast attacking skills of the Spanish pen-holder, Jesus Cantero who, likewise performed a recovery of note to emerge successful (9-11, 4-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6).
Narrow margins, it was the same for Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar, the no.8 seed and Men’s Singles winner earlier in the year at the 2017 European Under 21 Championships; he was beaten by the powerful Russian, Sadi Ismailov (9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-2).
Upsets and there were more as play commenced with France the nation to suffer. England’s Andrew Baggaley beat Tristan Flore, the no.9 seed (11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9); Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura ousted Antoine Hachard, the no.18 seed (11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5), whilst Uzbekistan’s Zokhid Kenjaev ended the hopes of Benjamin Brossier, the no.16 seed (7-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 12-14, 11-9, 11-8).
Upset of note but not where the leading name was involved; Germany’s Basstian Steger, returning to international action after a break through injury, beat Korea’s Cho Daeseong (11-5, 11-9, 11-7, 11-4).