by Simon Daish
The day began well for the Belgian team as Olav Kosolosky and Adrien Rassenfosse tore through their Croatian opponents by a three nil scoreline to gain the upper hand in the group.
Top spot was then secured for Belgium, recovering from a trailing position to defeat Germany 3-1 with Olav Kosolosky registering a brace of victories against Daniel Rinderer (11-8, 11-6, 12-10) and Felix Wetzel (11-9, 4-11, 12-10, 11-6).
Maksim Grebnev and Vladimir Sidorenko were in impressive form as defending champions Russia enjoyed a positive opening day at the tournament.
Picking up a convincing victory over Turkey in their opening encounter, the Russian team then sealed first position in Group A with another good outing against Italy.
Vladimir Sidorenko came through both of his singles fixtures without dropping a game with triumphs over Turkey’s Ibrahim Atug (11-2, 11-4, 11-8) and Italy’s Matteo Gualdi (11-7, 11-4, 11-7), but the Russian competitor believes that he was far from playing his best on the opening day.
“It is the first day of the tournament and I am not in the best shape. I still struggle to feel the ball well. I have not adjusted to the new tables. I hope it will be much better from tomorrow onward. We came here with the desire to win everything we can”, Vladimir Sidorenko.
The host nation Portugal endured a day of mixed emotions in the Cadet Boys’ Team event, after ending the day with a record of one victory and one defeat.
Starting the day well the Portuguese lineup gave the home fans plenty to cheer about following a 3-1 triumph against Spain, but despite a solid effort the hosts were denied by France by the reverse scoreline in the afternoon session of play.
Tiago Li was surely Portugal’s standout player of the opening day in the category, claiming three wins from his four singles encounters. Only one player managed to upset the Portuguese star and that was French competitor Dorian Zheng (11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 12-14).
“At the start I was not very focused, so I needed some guidance from the coach. He told me to play in the middle and at the forehand to beat Li. It worked until the fourth game. In that game I was 8-4 in the lead and Li managed to recover to reach 9-8. Once again I needed to get a grip on the game and I came back to win 14-12!”, Dorian Zheng.
Hungarian supporters will be happy with the country’s efforts in Group C of the competition, after the team saw off Sweden and Poland to move into top spot.
The tie against Poland proved to be highly entertaining as all three of the singles matches went to the deciding game, and the team of Csaba Andras and Oliver Both can head into tomorrow’s action feeling confident after a good opening day’s work.
Stag 2017 European Youth Championships: Results – Friday 14th July