by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (Interviews by Wade Townsend)
Mario Lockward was the player to succeed in the most dramatic fashion, he accounted for Finland’s Alex Naumi in a contest that was on the proverbial knife-edge to the very last point (9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 14-12).
Similarly, there were tense times for Matas Skucas before he overcame Mongolia’s Erdenbauer Chinbat (11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 13-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-5) and for Kane Townsend in opposition to Macao’s Cheong Chi Cheng (5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-8).
“I had a lot of chances early on and knew I could have been three-one up instead of down but it was good to deal with a high pressure situation early on in the tournament and come out on top.” Kane Townsend
Eventual success for Kane Townsend, it was the same for Yohan Mora when facing Venezuela’s Jan Medina (12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 15-17, 11-8, 11-7) and for Andy Pereira in opposition to Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbada (9-11, 11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8).
Success for Oceania in the guise of Kane Townsend; there was also success in the form of David Powell, also from Australia; he beat Jann Mari Nayre of the Philippines (11-8, 11-6, 7-11. 9-11, 11-6, 11-8).
However, conversely for the continent there was defeat; New Zealand’s Matthew Hetherington suffered at the hands of Luxembourg’s Eric Clod (11-7, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5).
“It was difficult out there. I practised this morning but the bounce of the ball was different; I keep expecting the ball to be higher and it drops on me. I have to face the top player in the group in the next match so I’m going to knuckle down and stay closer to the table. It’s my chance to launch a devastating attack!” Matthew Hetherington
Poland’s Mark Badowski awaits.