by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Focused, he emerged successful against a very dangerous adversary in the guise of Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri, a young man who had nothing to lose and went for broke (11-6, 2-11, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8).
Make no mistake; Kirill Gerassimenko is a highly talented player and most humble. He was more than generous when reflecting on his success. He won because he was totally focused, single minded. Every player who has won at the very highest levels will tell you that those are the prime qualities.
“He is very fast, faster than me. Also he keeps the ball on the table and he changes the direction of the play, he creates wide angles. In the second game I won just two points, he is good in the rallies and his backhand flip return of service is good. I have played him several times before and I suspect it’s about 60:40 in his favour. Today I was focused but I was lucky.” Kirill Gerassimenko.
A seven games win to reserve top spot and progress to the preliminary round; it was the same for Italy’s Mihai Bobocica, Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia and Korea’s Jang Woojin.
Mihai Bobocica beat Germany’s Ricardo Walther by the very narrowest of decisions (9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10): Tiago Apolonia overcame Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura in an equally close duel (11-8, 11-9, 11-9, 2-11, 11-13, 2-11, 11-8), whilst Jang Woojin ended the hopes of England’s Sam Walker (12-10, 7-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5, 12-14, 11-6).
In the preliminary round Kirill Gerassimenko and Tiago Apolonia both meet Chinese adversaries. Kirill Gerassimenko faces Fang Bo, Tiago Apolonia opposes Wang Chuqin. Meanwhile for Jang Woojin, Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson awaits, for Mihai Bobocica it is Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi.