19 Sep 2018

The winner in Stuttgart in 2009 but in the Spanish resort of Alicante, for Denmark’s Michael Maze, progress to the main draw is on a knife-edge, following the close of play on Tuesday 18th September, in the qualification group stage of the Men’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships.

He is still alive but he needs the dice to roll in his favour.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

A total of 23 groups in the initial stage of proceedings, 32 places available; those who gain top spots advance; for the remaining places a total of 18 players who finished in second places, selected at random, compete in a preliminary round.

On the opening day of action, Michael Maze lost narrowly to the Czech Republic’s Tomas Tregler (9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-13, 12-10, 11-6, 11-8). Immediately, he recovered to beat Slovenia’s Deni Kozul, at no.112 on the current World Rankings, the highest rated player in the group (12-10, 11-7, 12-14, 11-4, 11-7).

Significantly, Tomas Tregler remains the one unbeaten player in the group; in his second match of the day he accounted for Poland’s Tomasz Kotowski (12-10, 11-7, 12-14, 11-4, 11-7); a young man who is not out of the reckoning. In his opening contest he prevailed in opposition luckless Deni Kozul (11-5, 13-11, 5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9).

The scenario is simple, to guarantee second place, Michael Maze must beat Tomasz Kotowski in the concluding group contest; whatever happens between Tomas Tregler and Deni Kozul, Tomas Tregler win or lose is assured of first place.

Tomas Tregler very much in form; as play came to a conclusion on the opening day of action in the Men’s Singles qualification event in Alicante, there were two further players who attracted the attention. Russia’s Vildan Gadiev and Serbia’s Zsolt Peto both ended the opening day unbeaten contrary to expectations.

Vildan Gadiev accounted for Hungary’s Adam Szudi (11-5, 11-4, 3-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7) prior to overcoming Denmark’s Anders Lind (12-14, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-3, 11-2). Hard fought wins, arguably it was even harder for Zsolt Peto, he needed the full seven games to emerge successful in both contests. He accounted for Laurens Tromer of the Netherlands (11-4, 9-11, 11-3, 7-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9) and Austria’s Andras Levenko (1-11, 11-13, 11-8, 8-11, 11-2, 11-5, 12-10).

Anders Lind at no.110 and Andreas Levenko at no.114 are the highest ranked players on duty in the respective groups. Significantly for each it was their only defeat of the day, thus the door to main draw remains open.

Play in the qualification stage concludes on Wednesday 19th September.

2018 Liebherr European Championships Michael Maze

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