by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Jiang Tianyi, the no.6 seed, was beaten by Italy’s Niagol Stoyanov in a closely contested full distance seven games duel (11-5, 7-11, 6-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-7). At the same time Germany’s Steffen Mengel bid farewell, the no.9 seed, likewise he suffered a seven games reverse. He was beaten by Russia’s Andrei Baibuldin (9-11, 13-11, 14-12, 14-12, 1-11, 1-11, 11-7).
Meanwhile Japan’s Kaii Yoshida and Denmark’s Zhai Yujia, both players who had upset the order of merit to secure first places in their respective qualification groups, continued in the same vein. Kaii Yoshida beat Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi, the no.27 seed (9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6, 15-13); Zhai Yujia overcame the Czech Republic’s Lubomir Jancarik, the no.30 seed (9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5).
Performances of note, success against the odds and there were mixed fortunes for France. Alexandre Cassin beat India’s Soumyajit Ghosh, the no.20 seed but colleague, Antoine Hachard, the no.26 seed, suffered at the hands of Russia’s Kirill Skachkov (7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5),
Success for Kirill Skachkov and Alexandre Cassin contrary to predictions, in a similar vein there was success for Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic. He ended the hopes of Italy’s Mihai Bobocica, the no.28 seed (11-7, 4-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8).
Surprises but three prominent names did survive the opening round carnage; however, for João Monteiro he nearly joined the departure queue. The no.3 seed, he needed the full seven games to beat Frenchman Mehdi Bouloussa, only succeeding by the very minimal margin in the deciding game (11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 12-10).
Somewhat similarly for Germany’s Benedek Duda, the no.2 seed, life was testing; another Frenchman posed problems. He was required to recover from a two games to nil deficit to overcame Alexandre Robinot (10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8). Hard fought wins, for England’s Liam Pitchford, the no.6 seed, life was more comfortable. He ended the hopes of Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro in four straight games (11-3, 11-3, 14-12, 11-5).
The second round of the Men’s Singles event will be played later in the day.