by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The no.7 seeds, in their opening round engagement, they accounted for the Egyptian combination of Omar Assar and Mohamed El-Beiali, a four games win being the order of the day (11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6).
“We struggled a bit with the new multi-ball system; it was strange to play with new ball every time. Once we found our tempo then we were able to control this match I think we were the better pair.” Adam Szudi
Success for Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi as anticipated but not for the Indian combination of Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.8 seeds; they emerged the one partnership to experience defeat when facing a pair who had advanced through the qualification phase. Semi-finalists some two months ago in Sweden; they were beaten by Belarus combination of Pavel Platonov and Vladimir Samsonov (11-3, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8).
“It was a match of plenty of ups and downs. We won the first game then we lost two games in a row, before we finally recovered. Even in the deciding game we had to make a comeback; we had to be really focused and just keep the ball on the table.” Pavel Platonov
Victory in five games for Belarus, it was the same for Belgium but by an even narrower margin; Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck, the no.3 seeds, eventually succeeded but only by the very minimal margin in opposition to Sweden’s Pär Gerell and Anton Källberg (12-14, 11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10).
“It was hard match to start with but we are glad we came out if as winners. We needed to play the first ball and short touches with good quality. On many occasions we were leading, then we tried too hard, we need to be more relaxed in the next round.” Robin Devos
Disappointment for Sweden but there was success, Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson, the no.5 seeds, beat Austria’s Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn and thus turned the tables. In the final of the 2012 European Championships in Herning they had lost to the Austrians. Six years later it was a different scenario, the Nordic pair prevailed in three straight games (11-8, 11-8, 12-10).
Impressive from Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson; it was the same from Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the top seeds, as it was from Singapore’s Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie, the no.2 seeds. Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth beat Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting and Lin Yu-Ju (12-10, 11-6, 11-4); Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie accounted for the combination of Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen and Hungary’s Marton Szita (11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6).
“We did not have the best start being six-nil down in the first game but we pinched it, after that we controlled the match and had no trouble at all.” Patrick Franziska
Likewise, Germany’s Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther imposed their authority on affairs; the no.4 seeds, they ended the hopes of the Czech Republic’s Tomas Konecny and Tomas Polansky (11-7, 13-15. 12-10, 13-11).
Notable performances from notable pairs but I would suggest the partnership on which to focus is that occupying the no.6 seeded spot, China’s Fan Zhendong and Yu Ziyang. Both former World Junior champions, they combined to oust Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang and Ng Pak Nam (11-8, 11-5, 11-8).
“This was our first match of the competition I think we started a little nervously but the shots and the feeling was good; that was a help to win the match three-nil.” Yu Ziyang
At the quarter-final stage in the top half of the draw Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth meet Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, Fan Zhendong and Yu Ziyang confront Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther. In the lower half Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck face Pavel Platonov and Vladimir Samsonov, Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson oppose Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie.
The matches are scheduled for 2.40pm (local time) on Friday 19th January.