by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However, in a competition where the top 32 ranked players were not required to compete in the initial group stage, there were surprises as players sought a top two finish in order to secure a main draw place.
The players in particular to catch the eye were Spain’s Marc Guttierez and the Czech Republic’s Tomas Kordas.
Marc Guttierrez remained unbeaten. Notably, he accounted beat Germany’s Felix Wetzel (11-6, 11-9, 14-12) the highest rated player in the group; it was the only defeat Felix Wetzel was to suffer, second place was his lot and thus progress to the main draw.
“I started in first place but I ended up in second, I didn’t play very well. Against Gutierrez I didn’t start too well. I was close but at the end my opponent won 14-12. I think my play was not so good, I know I can do it better.” Felix Wetzel
However, life was somewhat different for Tomas Koldas. He lost to Chinese Taipei’s Lin Hsin-Yu, the top name in the group (9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 5-11, 11-8) but accounted for Slovenia’s Aljaz Frelih in three straight games (11-6, 12-10, 11-1). Somewhat surprisingly in the opening match in the group, Lin Hsin-Yu had suffered a five games defeat at the hands of Aljaz Frelih (11-9, 4-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9).
Thus games ratio decided the outcome; first place finished in the hands of Tomas Kordas (5:3), it was second place for Li Hsin-Yu (5:5) with Aljaz Frelih in third spot (3:5).
“My play was all right, my first match however was not good but I after that it was better and better, so I think I can go further. I think Asian players have a very different style to play, because they are more active than Europeans. I don’t have any problem with their style. They are strong and it is good for me. Hopefully I will leave Hungary with a gold medal.” Tomas Kordas
First place in the group meant a direct entry to round two; for Felix Wetzel and Li Hsin-Yu a first round match beckoned. Both emerged successful; Felix Wetzel beat England’s Joseph Clark (11-7, 11-4, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8), Li Hsin-Yu accounted for Russia’s Sergey Ryzhov (11-4, 11-4, 11-8, 14-12), a player who against the odds had topped his group
Meanwhile, in the Junior Boys’ Doubles event, as matters progressed to the quarter-finals, there was just one upset. In the fourth round the combination of Austria’s Maciej Kolodziejczyk and Moldova’s Vladimir Ursu beat the French combination of Lilian Bardet and Jules Rolland, the no.3 seeds (10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10).
Defeat for the third seeds but no such problems for the top two pairings; also from France Irvin Bertrand and Leo de Nodrest advanced to the round of the last eight, as did Belgium’s Florian Cnudde and Valentin Pieraert.