by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Four groups in the initial stage of proceedings; the goal is a top three finish in order to gain a place in the main draw.
A three matches to two success was the end result for Germany in opposition to Egypt; the player to cause Germany problems being Omar Assar. He beat both Ruwen Filus (4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9) and Timo Boll (11-9, 5-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8).
Testing times for Germany, less so for Sweden and Hong Kong; Sweden recorded a three-nil win in opposition to Romania, by the same margin Hong Kong accounted for Slovenia.
China made intentions clear, they overcame Russia by three matches to nil; likewise Brazil accounted for the Czech Republic by three matches to one with Hugo Calderano leading by example. He beat both Lubomir Jancarek (11-5, 11-4, 11-9) and Pavel Sirucek (11-5, 11-8, 11-7)
Impressive from China and Brazil; it was equally impressive from Portugal. Fielding the tried and trusted trio of Tiago Apolonia, Marcos Freitas and João Monteiro, a three-nil win was recorded against the DPR Korea outfit formed by Cho Il, Pak Sin Hyok and Kong Wi Hun
Three matches to nil outcomes were the results in each fixture. Japan beat Belgium, Chinese Taipei accounted for Singapore, England overcame Belarus.
The performance of the day was that of England’s Liam Pitchford; notably he beat Vladimir Samsonov (11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 11-13, 11-6).
India came close to causing a major upset, Croatia caused an upset.
Sharath Kamal Achanta beat both Emmanuel Lebesson (9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 13-11) and Simon Gauzy (11-8, 11-7, 10-12, 14-12) but they were to prove the only wins for India. In the vital concluding match of the fixture, Emmanuel Lebesson beat Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (11-13, 11-4, 11-9, 11-3) to secure a French success.
Meanwhile, in the corresponding fixture, Croatia, the no.20 seeds, caused the one upset of the day by beating Austria, the no.11 seeds, three-nil; more predictably, Korea accounted for Poland by three matches to nii.