by Simon Daish
Mikhail Paikov was a gold medal winner at last year’s Bulgaria Open, as he and his fellow countryman Alexey Liventsov emerged successful in the Men’s Doubles category.
Both Russian stars feature in the Men’s Singles qualifying group stage for the 2017 event, and both players have made positive openings to their respective group campaigns.
The second Group 3 fixture of the day saw Mikhail Paikov take on Japan’s Haruki Miyamoto with the Russian competitor claiming the win across six games (11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10), and Alexey Liventsov enjoyed his first Group 9 outing with an encouraging performance against Anders Eriksson of Sweden (11-4, 11-6, 11-6, 13-15, 11-8).
Disappointment for Anders Eriksson, but there were some bright performances from some of the other Swedish competitors involved in action.
Viktor Brodd came through his opening encounter of the group stage without conceding a game to Bulgarian representative Denis Bekir (11-5, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7), a games scoreline which was matched by fellow Swede Harald Andersson who also saw off a home player with Daniel Ivonov suffering a straight games defeat (11-6, 11-5, 11-7, 11-2).
Chinese Taipei celebrated victories in the afternoon session with the likes of Hung Tzu-Hsiang and Yang Heng-Wei proving too strong for opponents Viktor Yanev (11-2, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7) and Ivo Yordanov (11-6, 11-4, 11-2, 11-4), but there was one player representing the country in particular who caught the attention of the spectators in Panagyurishte.
Chou Te-Hao summoned up some of his best table tennis in his second Group 12 encounter, claiming a deciding game win over Amalraj Anthony of India (11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6) to seal first position in the group.
Elsewhere Daniel Kosiba and Tamas Lakatos have improved their chances of progressing beyond the group stage, after the Hungarian duo prevailed in their respective meetings with David Kostadinov (11-3, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8) and Ivor Katic (6-11, 12-10, 14-12, 12-10, 11-5).