by Simon Daish
The fight for first position in Group D is beginning to heat up after two teams claimed their second victories of the campaign.
Ukraine faced off with Poland in what was anticipated to be a closely fought out tie, but in the end it was decided in three matches.
Viktor Yefimov got the tie underway with a positive opening against Wang Zengyi (8-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10) before Kou Lei and Yevhen Pryshchepa achieved back-to-back successes against Daniel Gorak (11-6, 11-7, 11-3) and Marek Badowski (10-12, 10-12, 12-10, 13-11, 11-2) to give Ukraine the win.
The other team which is in the hunt for top spot in the group is France after Simon Gauzy, Emmanuel Lebesson and Tristan Flore led the nation to a second consecutive victory at the tournament.
Romania was the unfortunate side which ended up facing a formidable French team but following the conclusion of the opening two matches the scoreboard was all square at 1-1. Emmanuel Lebesson then put his team in front again, defeating Adrian Crisan in straight games (11-9, 11-3, 11-3) and the result was sealed when Simon Gauzy claimed his second win of the match with a straight games triumph over Ovidiu Ionescu (11-8, 14-12, 12-10).
“I am very proud of my team’s 3-1 win against Romania and I think that we were very productive today. We continue to get better and better after each match because tonight we will be in a big fight against Ukraine for first place in our group”, Emmanuel Lebesson.
There was another confident display from the German team as Croatia suffered a 3-0 defeat to the title hopefuls.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov came through his fixture without dropping a game to Filip Cipin (11-4, 11-5, 11-8), while Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther saw off challenges from Tomislav Kolarek (11-6, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9) and Frane Kojic (11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7) respectively.
“This was my first match here at the Championships, so I was a little nervous but I am used to that. I made too many mistakes, particularly in the third game, but I stayed very concentrated throughout the fourth game and I won my match. All in all, I think my match was okay”, Ricardo Walther.
The other Group A encounter saw Alvaro Robles produce a superb performance to lift Spain to a 3-1 win against Belarus.
Group B featured two thrilling encounters as a Marcos Freitas brace helped Portugal to a 3-2 triumph over Austria, while Slovenia recovered from a 0-2 deficit to defeat the Slovak Republic by a 3-2 scoreline.
Russia and Sweden both recorded 3-0 victories in their second Group C fixtures with Luxembourg and Greece ending up on the wrong side of the results.
Denmark has finished in first position in its Men’s Challenge Division group with Jonathan Groth, Anders Lind and Tobias Rassmussen achieving victory against the Netherlands.
There were no problems for Belgium in its Group G encounter against Finland, while Turkey topped Group F.
Scotland has continued its strong start to the Men’s Standard Division after Kosovo suffered a 3-0 defeat to the team of Niall Cameron, Colin Dalgleish and Calum Morrison.