by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Both wins were as per seeding, Tristan Flore was the no.16 seed as opposed to Hameet Desai who occupied the no.22 spot; similarly, Panagiotis Gionis was the no.2 seed, Jonathan Groth, the no.5 seed.
Success for Tristan Flore and to some extent it was a revenge win; the two had met in the Under 21 Men’s Singles final at the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open, on that occasion Tristan Flore had won in four straight games (11-9, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4).
However, more pertinent, when the two had met earlier this year in the opening round of the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Indian Open, the verdict had gone in favour of Harmeet Desai; the outcome being a mirror of the result in Zagreb. On that occasion Harmeet Desai had withstood a brave French recovery to prevail in a contest that, like today, required a deciding seventh game (11-4, 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6).
Unquestionably whatever World rankings may advise Harmeet Desai and Tristan Flore are two very evenly matched players; as for Panagiotis Gionis, he had the edge on Jonathan Groth.
They had met on one prior occasion on the international scene; at the Liebherr 2015 ITTF European Championships staged in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg, Panagiotis Gionis had emerged successful in six games (11-9, 9-11, 2-11, 13-11, 14-12, 11-6).
In Zagreb Panagiotis Gionis repeated the feat but in one game less.