by Ian Marshall, Editor
In the second qualification round, the round to determine main draw places, they accounted for Slovenia’s Deni Kozul and Jan Zibrat in three straight games (11-8, 11-6, 11-5).
“We feel very confident. We have been playing together for three years; we hope we can reach the medal rostrum in Alicante.” Ibrahim Gündüz
An impressive victory margin by Ibrahim Gündüz and Abdulla Yingeler; for another pair who similarly had excelled in younger days, notably reaching the latter stages of the Boys’ Doubles event at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Kobe, life was more testing. Serbia’s Marko Jevtovic and Zsolt Peto, back in harness having last appeared as a partnership in 2015 in Ekaterinburg, needed the full five games to end the hopes of the combination formed by Denmark’s Anders Lind and Hungary’s Bence Majoros (9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8).
“Last time we played together was in the quarter-final of the European Championships in Russia. It has been a while; however, we feel confident here, this victory was very important.” Zsolt Peto
Success but hard earned with Marko Jevtovic returning to the international scene and finding that the game has moved forward.
“I have been absent for three years. Now everyone plays atomic table tennis. It is unbelievable.” Marko Jevtovic
Likewise, the Bulgarian combination of Teodor Alexandrov and Denislav Kodjabashev endured testing times, arguably causing somewhat of an upset; they resisted a spirited recovery by Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar and Frane Kojic (11-8, 11-9, 13-15, 11-13, 11-8) to book their main draw place.
Hard fought wins but just as Ibrahim Gündüz and Abdulla Yingeler impressed, there was another performance of note in the second qualification Men’s Doubles round that caught the eye. It was that afforded by the pairing of the host nation’s Jesus Cantero and Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic. They beat the formation of Lithuania’s Tomas Mikutis and Borna Haug without a shred of charity being offered (11-4, 11-4, 11-7).
“We were relaxed and we started very well. Karakasevic did not miss the ball. Mikutis and Haug played very safe, they did not want to risk much, at some points they were very nervous. On the other side of the argument we played aggressively.” Jesus Cantero
Conversely, if close contests are the subject in the question look no further than success recorded by Ganna Gaponova and Tetyana Bilenko in the round to determine Women’s Double main draw places.
The Ukraine defenders eventual overcame the partnership comprising England’s Maria Tspatsinos and Turkey’s Betul Nur Kahraman in a quite titanic struggle, the opening game taking you back to the previous century (22-20, 5-11, 11-9, 5-11, 14-12).
A hard earned full distance win to reserve a main draw place, the Ukrainians were not alone. Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene and Egle Stuckyte eventually overcame the pairing comprising Emina Hadziahmetovic and Finland’s Anna Kirichenko (11-3, 11-13, 11-9, 10-12, 11-4); in a similar vein, Luxembourg’s Danielle Konnsbruck and Sarah Meyer kept their nerve to end the hopes of Italy’s Debora Vivarelli and Jamila Laurenti (11-8, 3-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8).
Defeat for Italy by narrow margins, conversely there was also success when matters went the full distance. Giorgia Piccolin and Chiara Colantoni accounted for Portugal’s Leila Oliveira and Celia Silva (8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8) to secure their main draw place.
The first round of both the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles events will be played on Thursday 20th September.