by Simon Daish
Andrej Gacina’s World Championships debut came in Yokohama, Japan in 2009 where the Croatian managed to claim a couple of victories before eventually bowing out to Danish legend Michael Maze in the Round of 32 (12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 3-11, 10-12).
Since then Andrej Gacina has appeared at two further individuals World Championships, exiting at the round of 64 stage to China’s Wang Hao at Rotterdam 2011 (6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 7-11, 6-11) and to Vladimir Samsonov at the round of 32 stage at Paris 2013 (7-11, 11-6, 11-13, 3-11, 9-11).
However, Gacina didn’t feature at the 2015 edition of the tournament hosted in Suzhou, China – an injury forced the Croatian to withdraw just prior to the event.
Injury problems also hindered Gacina’s progress in 2016 with the Croatian suffering earlier than anticipated exits in the Men’s Singles competitions at the 2016 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Liebherr 2016 European Championships.
Yet, Gacina has show signs of returning closer to his best, having secured a sixth position finish at the 2017 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in Antibes picking up positive victories over the likes of Austria’s Stefan Fegerl (11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7) and the eventual runner up Alexander Shibaev of Russia (11-4, 7-11, 11-4, 10-12,11-2).
Alongside taking part in the Men’s Singles category, the Liebherr 2017 World Championships will also see Andrej Gacina participate in the Men’s Doubles competition with Portugal’s Marcos Freitas.
Gacina and Freitas were initially set to partner up at Suzhou 2015 prior to the Croatian’s injury withdrawal, but if all goes to plan the duo will look to enjoy a strong outing in the category.
The mixed nationality pairing of Gacina and Freitas proved successful at the Intersport 2011 European Championships with the duo achieving a gold medal finish, and more recently the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open ended with the Croatian and Portuguese combination claiming the Men’s Doubles crown.
Playing his club table tennis for TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau in the German Bundesliga, Andrej Gaćina will be no stranger to the home crowd at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships and the Croatian competitor will be hoping that following a difficult couple of years a positive campaign awaits him in Düsseldorf.