by Simon Daish
Spectators were treated to a fantastic battle in Group 8 of the Men’s Singles qualification group stage as Samuel Walker and Daniel Kosiba fought out an exciting seven games encounter.
Trailing by a three games to one deficit England’s Walker pulled off a terrific comeback, defeating his Hungarian opponent in the deciding game (11-13, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 15-13) to start his campaign with a win.
Tomas Polansky contributed one of the standout results of the day as the Czech ace came out on top against Sanil Shetty.
Despite narrowly missing out to the Indian in the opening game, 19-year-old Polansky continued to fight to the best of his abilities and, four consecutive game wins later, he was rewarded with tremendous Group 2 victory (9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 13-11).
On the whole it was a disappointing first day in the category for German players, but there was a victory for the home fans to celebrate with Qiu Dang coming through his Group 13 tie against Mexico’s Marcos Madrid with a win to his name (6-11, 11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-6).
There was a surprise defeat for world no.16 Li Jie on the opening day of the Women’s Singles qualification tournament in Magdeburg and it could prove to be rather costly for the Dutch competitor.
Li Jie, well known for her steady approach to the game, lost out to Germany’s Nina Mittelham across six games in Group 2 (11-6, 12-14, 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 4-11) and will require a comfortable win in the final group match against Japan’s Miyu Nagasaki if she is to keep her hopes of reaching the main event alive.
Another major player to suffer an opening match loss was Singapore’s Zhou Yihan, who came out second best in her fixture with Chinese opponent Sun Mingyang (5-11, 5-11, 4-11, 7-11).
Successful at the recent 2017 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open, Saki Shibata has continued her winning run with a fine display against Wang Yi-Ju of Chinese Taipei (11-2, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11) and there was somewhat of a shakeup in Group 25 as Yana Timina of the Netherlands powered to a five games triumph (11-6, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8) over Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko.