by Ian Marshall, Editor
A win in his first match of the day on his very first appearance in the tournament, for the man known for his electric forehand in true French style, in Disneyland, Emmanuel Lebesson was in Dreamland.
“He was playing onto my backhand all the time and it was difficult. I had to move around a lot. It was 3-1 (9-6) for him but from that point I grew in confidence and I tried to come back. He was better than me in the beginning and could have won the match 4-1. This was a big opportunity for me and I was really happy with the French fans and this beautiful atmosphere.
The support of the French fans can help us a lot. It will be fantastic for us to play in front of many people. They gave me a lot more strength in this match and I hope for more of the same going forwards.” Emmanuel Lebesson
Success at the first attempt for Emmanuel Lebesson, by comparison Simon Gauzy is an old hand!
A fourth appearance, he has a splendid record in the tournament. In 2015 in Halmstad on debut he progressed to the main draw where China’s Fan Zhendong ended progress. The following year in Saarbrücken he reached the quarter-finals losing to Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson, before last year in Liège finishing in fourth place. At the semi-final stage he was beaten by Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the third place contest by China’s Ma Long.
Opening wins for Emmanuel Lebesson and Simon Gauzy; as status advised there were also wins for Korea Republic’s Jeong Sangeun and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth.
Jang Seongeun, the no.11 seed, beat Panagiotis Gionis of Greece, the no.19 seed (11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5, 11-4); Jonathan Groth, the no.12 seed and like Emmanuel Lebesson on Men’s Wold Cup debut, overcame Australia’s Heming Hu, he no.20 seed (11-8, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4).
“I was a bit nervous before the match. It was my first ever match at the World Cup. I think that Heming Hu started very well. The first three games were really tough for me and very close. It is always hard to play at the best level in the first match but I‘m very happy I could come though.” Jonathan Groth
Players finishing in first and second positions in each of the four groups join the eight seeds in the main draw.