by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
However, all three succeeded the hard way; none more than Tibor Spanik and Nolan Givone.
On the first day of play Tibor Spanik had beaten Ireland’s Owen Cathcart in four games (11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-2); the success coming after Owen Cathcart had overcome Poland’s Kamil Nalepa, the highest rated player in the group by a similar margin (11-9, 12-10, 3-11, 11-5). Tibor Spanik in the driving seat but in the concluding match in the group, he was beaten by Kamil Nalepa, once again the outcome was in four games (6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6).
Thus all three players were level when it came to matches won and on games ratio (4:4); points ratio was needed to decide the verdict. First place finished in the hands of Tibor Spanik (75:63) followed Kamil Nalepa (74:70) and Owen Cathcart (61:77).
It was exactly the same for Nolan Givone. He concluded his group stage matches by beating the host nation’s Marco Golla in four games (11-7, 14-12, 9-11, 11-7), having the previous day lost by a similar margin to Russia’s Danila Travin (11-9, 11-7, 11-13, 12-10). However, Danila Travin concluded his itinerary of matches on the first day of action with success against Marco Golla, likewise in four games (11-7, 14-12, 9-11, 11-7).
Once again points ratio was needed to determine the end result. First place went to Nolan Givone (86:80) followed by Marco Golla (81:82) and Danila Travin (80:85).
Close for Tibor Spanik and Nolan Givone, it was only slightly less exacting for Jan Zandecki. He lost Frenchman Leo de Nodrest, the highest rated player in the group in five games (14-12, 5-11, 11-3, 3-11, 11-3) but also on the opening day of play, he accounted for Russia’s Maksim Kiselev in four games (9-11, 13-11, 13-11, 11-6). Defeat for Maksim Kiselev but on the concluding day of play it was success; he accounted for Leo de Nodrest in five games (11-9, 2-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-5).
Games ratio was the determining factor; hence first position for Jan Zandecki (5:4) followed by Leo de Nodrest (5:5) and Maksim Kiselev (4:5).
First places by narrow margins but no such problems for the top names, Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko and Poland’s Tomasz Kotowski duly finished in first positions in their respective groups.
Players finishing in first positions in each of the 15 first stage groups advanced to the main draw to join the 16 seeds; one “Lucky Loser” place was thus available, drawn from those who concluded the initial phase in second place.
The player whose name came out of the hat was Slovenia’s Peter Hribar; he had finished in second place in his group behind Andreas Dilling.