by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Crowned European champions in Herning in 2012, before being runners up in Schwechat in 2013 and also in 2015 in Ekaterinburg; the Austrians made a confident start in their quest for a main draw place. They beat India’s Soumyajit Ghosh and Sanil Shetty in three straight games (11-9, 11-4, 11-4).
However, in their next encounter, the defining duel, life was much different. They faced the brink of defeat, recovering from a two games to one deficit to beat Turkey’s Ibrahim Gündüz and Abdullah Yigenler by the very narrowest of margins in a quite dramatic deciding game (10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 16-14).
Victory by narrow margins; that was very much the scenario in the Men’s Doubles decisive round; no less than five of the eight matches needed a fifth game.
Additional to Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn, China’s Fang Yinchi and Xue Fei required the full five games to beat Poland’s Jakub Dyjas and Daniel Gorak (17-15, 5-11, 2-11, 11-7, 11-9), as did the latter’s colleagues, Marek Badowski and Wang Zengyi. Eventually, they overcame Russia’s Denis Ivonin and Vladimir Sidorenko (10-12, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9).
Likewise, for Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Hunor Szocs, it was success by the minimal two point margin against England’s David McBeath and Sam Walker (13-11, 4-11, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11), as it was for Iranian brothers Nima Alamian and Noshad Alamiyan when facing the Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik and Pavel Sirucek (8-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10).
Also, in the round to decide Women’s Doubles main draw places there were tense times.
The combination formed by Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte and Germany’s Nina Mittelham secured success by the very minimal of decisions when confronting the partnership comprising England Tin-Tin Ho and Austria’s Amelie Solja (11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9).
In a very similar manner, Ukraine’s Iryna Mostyk and Ievgenia Vasylieva needed the full five games to beat the partnership of Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and the host nation’s Renata Strbikova (5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7), as did Marie Migot of France in partnership with Serbia’s Andrea Todorovic. They were stretched the full distance by Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chia-Hsuan and Tsai Yu-Chin (9-11, 14-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6).
Tense moments for Marie Migot and Andrea Todorovic; it was no different for Russia’s Anastasia Kolish and Olga Vorobeva; they were severely tested by Nadezhda Bogdanova and Daria Trigolos of Belarus (10-12, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7).
Hard fought wins but notably for the top two pairs in the qualification stage of the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles events, comparatively comfortable wins were posted in the determining matches.
In the former, Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri beat Chile’s Gustavo Gomez and Juan Lamadrid (11-9, 11-4, 11-6); in the later Poland’s Katarzyna Grzyboswska-Franc and Natalia Partyka overcame Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yi-Hua and Lee Yu-Peng.