24 Aug 2018

A game of two halves, it is well worn saying on a football field, on Thursday 23rd August, the phrase very much applied to the opening round of the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc.

Earlier in the day, in the top half of the draw, no less than six of the eight seeds, had fallen; in the lower half it was just one. The player to cause the upset was Austria’s Daniel Habesohn, he beat Sweden’s Mattias Falck, the no.6 seed (11-9, 7-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Good form in the qualification tournament; equally Russia’s 31 year old Kirill Skachkov had caught the eye as had Poland’s ten years younger Marek Badowski, for both the first round was the end of adventures.

Kirill Skachkov lost to Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko, the no.14 seed, in a closely contested seven games duel (12-14, 11-6, 5-11, 11-13, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7); Marek Badowski was beaten by experience and control. He lost to Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.10 seed (13-15, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7, 12-10).

Success for Vladimir Samsonov, notably there was also success for Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.2 seed and defending champion; he accounted for Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic in a most imperious manner. He prevailed in four straight games (11-9, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4).

Similarly, Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.4 seed and winner in Olomouc in 2014, made an authoritative start to his campaign, as did Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.5 seed. Marcos Freitas recorded a straight games against Japan’s Yuki Hirano (11-6, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4); Jonathan Groth ended the progress of Poland’s Jakub Dyjas (11-2, 11-2, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5).

“I started very well by winning the two opening games quite easily. After those wins I got a bit nervous, last time I also led against him two games to nil and eventually lost in a league match three-two; I let him into the match. Luckily, this time at two games all I was able to increase my level and win. I’m very happy to be through because the last couple of times I have lost in the first round, when I was seeded directly in the main draw.” Jonathan Groth

Opening round success for Jonathan Groth, a round where overall no less than seven of the 16 seeds had fallen.

“I think with this system it’s very tough to be directly in the main draw. I feel like it’s a disadvantage many times, at least for a player like me who is not a top ten player in the world. You get more ranking points by losing the last qualification round than you get from the first main draw round if you are seeded and lose your match. I feel that there should be 64 players in the main draw. At the moment you can play your fourth match and it’s still called qualification. It should be a progressive knock-out. I hope it will come.” Jonathan Groth

Meanwhile, not to be upstaged, Germany’s Patrick Franziska, the no.9 seed, overcame Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar (11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-6); Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura, the no.11 seed, ended the hopes of Russia’s Viacheslav Burov (8-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-4, 11-7).

The second round of the Men’s Singles event will be played in entirety on Friday 24th August.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Czech Open Daniel Habesohn

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Czech Open

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