by Ian Marshall, Editor
In the men’s singles event, Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.10 seed, crowned European champion in 2016 in the Hungarian capital city of Budapest, was beaten by Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson, the no.8 seed in a battle of left handers who excel in the art of top spin attacking play; a five games verdict was the outcome (5-11, 12-10, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7).
“It was much closer game then the result suggests. Lebesson won the opening game and he was in the lead in most of the games. He has one of the best forehands in the world and letting him attack is a dangerous thing. It is very difficult to defend against his style of play. I was focused on first three balls, good service, return, first ball.” Kristian Karlsson
Defeat for Emmanuel Lebesson, soon after in the women’s singles event it was the end of the road for Li Qian, the winner last year at the Liebherr 2018 European Championships in Alicante and a decade ago in 2009 successful at the Europe Top 12 in Düsseldorf. The no.5 seed, she was beaten in seven games by Germany’s Petrissa Solja, the no.5 seed (9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 5-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-8).
“It was very long match and hard. I had a two games to one advantage before I lost my focus for a second. My chances of winning were even, 50:50; that I knew it before the duel. I was ready for a long fight.” Petrissa Solja
In the second round for Kristian Karlsson, either Germany’s Timo Boll or Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia await; for Petrissa Solja she faces the winner of the contest between Russia’s Polina Mikhailova and Romania’s Elizabeta Samara.