by Simon Daish
Heading to his fourth individuals World Championships Niagol Stoyanov will be looking to achieve a personal best finish in the Men’s Singles competition, which may very well be a possibility.
Reaching the Round of 64 on his individuals World Championships debut at Rotterdam 2011, Niagol Stoyanov endured tough fixtures in the opening round of the main draw at Paris 2013 and Suzhou 2015 missing out to France’s Adrien Mattenet (11-3, 6-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 5-11, 6-11) and Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson (7-11, 8-11, 5-11, 7-11) at the respective tournaments.
However, there have been signs in the early months of 2017 that Stoyanov could well contribute a shock or two at the upcoming World Championships in Düsseldorf with arguably his strongest result of the year coming at the Belgosstrakh 2017 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open where the Italian defeated Qatar’s Li Ahmet in straight games (11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9).
“I keep going with my routine practice, next week I will be in Hungary for a camp with my national team and I hope that everything will be fine. In these last days before the competition it’s important not to get an injury… Düsseldorf will be a good opportunity. Getting a good draw for the first round is crucial but I haven’t set a special goal. Every country prepares for this kind of event so it will be a tough and unpredictable one. I have to improve my level in practice and at competition. I hope to have a chance to play some more ITTF World Tour events in 2017 and be ready to adapt to the new new ranking system in 2018. I will try to be in the battle to qualify for Tokyo 2020 but at the moment I can’t think that far ahead, just one step at a time”, Niagol Stoyanov speaking to the ITTF.
Another Italian contestant selected to travel to Düsseldorf is Mihai Bobocica, who is the highest ranked player from his country heading to the event, occupying 105th position in the ITTF World Rankings table for May 2017.
Mihai Bobocica proved unable to negotiate the Round of 128 on his opening three appearances at individuals World Championships, but a solid effort at Suzhou 2015 saw Bobocica achieve a personal best result in reaching the Round of 64 of the Men’s Singles tournament.
Crowned Men’s Singles champion at the recent 2017 Italian Nationals Championships and claiming the title for the sixth occasion in his career, Bobocica certainly has the capability to produce a strong outing at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships if the draw is kind.
The third Italian representative in preparation for the Men’s Singles event is Marco Rech Daldosso, who is in line to appear at his second individuals World Championships.
While the Men’s Singles category may prove difficult, Marco Rech Daldosso is also a skilled Men’s Doubles player having reached the Round of 16 in the category at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open alongside Niagol Stoyanov.
Alessandro Baciocchi, also of Italy, will partner Marco Rech Daldosso in the Men’s Doubles competition at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships.