by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Impressively, the German trio formed by Kay Stumper, Tobias Hippler and Cedric Meissner topped their group without due alarm; however, for England and Hungary life was more testing.
England needed the full five matches to beat the combination comprising colleague Kwan Wing who lined up alongside Romania’s Mihai Pop and the host nation’s Martin Danovsky.
Likewise, the Hungarian trio of Istvan Molnar, Patrik Juhasz and David Molnar experienced problems when facing the Argentina ‘B’ combination of Matias Guadelupe, Leandro Fuentes and Santiago Lorenzo. A hard earned three-two win was the outcome.
Mainstay of the victory was Patrik Juhasz; he accounted for Leandro Fuentes (14-12, 8-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-4) and for Matias Guadelupe (11-4, 11-9, 11-7). Meanwhile, for England, the backbone of the win was Luke Savill; he overcame Martin Danovsky (11-3, 11-8, 11-7) and Mihai Pop (15-13, 11-9, 11-9).
Close calls but eventually, no defeats; for the two remaining teams who secured first places it was a different scenario.
The combination of Slovenia’s Peter Hribar and Luka Norcic alongside Serbia’s Nikola Grujic duly secured first place in their group, as did the Argentina ‘A’ Team of Martin Bentancor, Santiago Tolosa and Matias de Vicenzo.
However, both teams suffered one defeat.
Peter Hribar, Luka Norcic and Nikola Grujic experienced a three-two defeat against the Slovakia ‘A’ Team combination of Tibor Spanik, Jakub Zelinka and Markus Tonkovic, the third seeds but recovered to beat the Hungarian ‘B’ Team trio of Oliver Both, Csaba Andras and Gabor Hagye by three matches to nil.
Earlier, the Hungarians had overcome Slovakia ‘A’ by three matches to one; thus on match ratio it was top spot for Peter Hribar, Luka Norcic and Nikola Grujic (5:3). Second place went to Slovak ‘A’ (4:5) with Hungary ‘B’ in third place.
Likewise, Martin Bentancor, Santiago Tolosa and Matias de Vicenzo, the fourth seeds, lost to the Croatian trio of Luka Martinek, Mislav Martinek and Javor Tica by three matches to one, before crucially in their concluding contest recording a three-nil success in opposition to the Slovak ‘B’ combination of Martin Truksa, Daniel Orac and Radoven Cyprich.
Prior the Argentine success, Slovakia ‘B’ had accounted for Croatia ‘A’ by three matches to two. Therefore it was first place for Argentina ‘A’ (4:3), followed by Croatia ‘A’ (5:4) and Slovakia ‘B’ (3:5).
Places finishing in first and second places in each of the five groups advanced to the main draw. The Boys’ Team event concludes on Friday 2nd June.