06 May 2017

An Indian player in the final of an ITTF Challenge Series tournament for a second consecutive week; seven days ago in Chile, Soumyajit Ghosh had beaten Amalraj Anthony in the final, the possibility of representation seven days later in Zagreb was quashed on the late morning of Saturday 6th May.

Harmeet Desai was beaten by Frenchman Tristan Flore in a closely contested seven games encounter (6-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8), the win coming prior to Panagiotis Gionis of Greece reserving his place in the final by overcoming Denmark’s Jonathan Groth in a five games engagement (11-9, 11-2, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8).

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.

Challenge Series 2017 Zagreb (Croatia) Open Jonathan Groth Panagiotis Gionis Tristan Flore Harmeet Desai

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