by Simon Daish
England opened their account at the event with a solid 3-1 victory against Slovenia, but it was their encounter with the No.1 seeds France that took the headlines.
Tom Jarvis headed into the match in good form having picked up two positive results in England’s opening fixture, and he put his team ahead against France beating Jules Rolland in straight games (11-4, 11-5, 11-6).
Then a comeback effort looked on the cards as France registered back-to-back wins, however, Tom Jarvis completed his second brace of the day triumphing over Irvin Bertrand (11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11) before fellow compatriot Luke Savill sealed an English win with a strong display against Jules Rolland (11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10) to put England top of Group A.
Another team which enjoyed a good opening day in Guimarães is Romania with the lineup of Cristian Pletea, Rares Sipos and Dragos Florin Opera putting in class performances against Denmark and the Czech Republic.
Cristian Pletea played the opening matches of each encounter defeating Martin Andersen of Denmark (10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7) and Czech opponent Jan Valenta (9-11, 14-12, 11-3, 11-7), and the Romanian athlete is well aware of the challenges that await at the event.
“There will be no easy matches here. Denmark proved that at the very beginning. Although they are seeded in tenth position, they put us under pressure…”, Cristian Pletea.
Russia has stated its intentions to enter the title race, following up their opening 3-0 success against Spain with a thrilling outcome against Germany.
Despite Tobias Hippler and Gerrit Engemann registering a victory apiece for the German team, an impressive Denis Ivonin stole the spotlight as the Russian inflicted defeat on both Hippler (11-9, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7) and Engemann (11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 11-5) while Lev Katsman prevailed over Cedric Meissner (6-11, 11-4, 11-3, 12-10) to help Russia to a 3-2 triumph.
Group D featured a highly dramatic match between Greece and Italy, as the latter of the two nations edged to a 2-3 win.
Ioannis Sgouropoulos put in a fantastic showing for the Greek team emerging victorious against Daniele Pinto and Matteo Mutti, but rather amazingly Italy came through the tie as the happier of the two teams.
Antonino Amato comfortably dealt with Efstratios Damianis (13-15, 9-11, 11-13), while Greek competitor Georgios Stamatouros suffered defeats to Matteo Mutti (11-7, 8-11, 7-11, 11-13) and Daniele Pinto (9-11, 11-8, 11-13, 7-11).
“It was not a problem for me to play the decisive match. I love those kind of situations. At that point we were level there were no favourites, it was like the game had just started. I lost against Sgouropoulos, but I am not unhappy with my game. I played well”, Daniele Pinto.
Italy ended the day unbeaten, overcoming Belgium by a 3-1 scoreline.
Stag 2017 European Youth Championships: Results – Friday 14th July