22 Aug 2017

Surprise defeats in their opening matches in the qualification tournament for the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc but for England’s Sam Walker and Frenchman Abdel-Kader Salifou, when play concluded on Tuesday 22nd August, the door was still open.

In fact, their meeting on the second day of action will have a major bearing on their fate.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Sam Walker listed at no.131 on the current Men’s World Rankings, experienced defeat at the hands of Russia’s Denis Ivonin, named at no.324. He was beaten in four straight games (11-6, 11-5, 13-11, 11-9).

At the same time, Abdel-Kader Salifou, ranked no.119 and the winner of no less than three ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles titles, when in 2013 he succeeded in Croatia, Egypt and Morocco, was beaten by a similar margin when facing Chile’s Juan La Madrid (11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7).

“It seems my service was very uncomfortable for him, he couldn´t receive very well. I was serving half long and waiting from him to take the initiative, this way I could control the game. When I was attacking first I was not so successful, therefore I was always letting him start. I was also very lucky to win the first game 11-9 with an edge ball; that determined the dynamic of the entire match.” Juan Lamadrid.

An opening defeat, in their second contest of the day it was success. Abdel Kader Salifou beat Denis Ivonin in five games (7-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8); by the same margin Sam Walker overcame Juan Lamadrid (11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5).

Lifelines for Abdel-Kader Salifou and Sam Walker but with only one player from each group progressing to the next stage, the outcome for two other notable names looks ponderous.

Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar, world ranked no.77 was beaten by Slovakia’s Adam Brat, named at no.559 (14-12, 11-9, 13-11, 7-11, 11-5); Russia’s Kirill Skachkov experienced defeat when facing Luka Fucec, like Tomislav Pucar from Croatia (2-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9). Presently Kirill Skachkov stands at no.122 on the World Rankings, Luka Fucec is named at no.318.

Success for Adam Brat but on his next visit to the table, he was beaten by Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic (11-4, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4), the one member of the group to end the day unbeaten. In his opening contest he had beaten England’s David McBeath (11-6, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7); the Englishman later experiencing defeat when facing Tomislav Pucar (13-11, 9-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6).

Somewhat similarly, it was one win and one defeat for Luca Fucec; in his opening contest he was beaten by Ukraine’s Viktor Yefimov (11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7). Success for Viktor Yefimov, in his second encounter of the day it was also success. He accounted Italy’s Alessandro Baciocchi (11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7) to end the day as the one unbeaten member of the group. Earlier Kirill Skachkov had accounted for Alessandro Bacciochi in five games (11-5, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7).

In the Men’s Singles event, players finishing in first place in groups no.25 to no.38 compete in preliminary round one; the winners advance to preliminary round two where they are joined by the players who finished in first places in groups no.1 to no.24. The winners of the matches in preliminary round two advance to the main draw.

Play in the group stage and preliminary rounds conclude on Wednesday 23rd August.

World Tour 2017 Seamaster Czech Open Sam walker Abdel-Kader Salifou

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