by Simon Daish
Leading the European charge in Busan is Sweden’s Mattias Falck, a player who has been in the international headlines for the right reasons in recent months.
Men’s singles semi-finalist at the ITTF World Tour Qatar Open in March and runner-up at the World Table Tennis Championships in April, since then however Falck hasn’t quite been able to rediscover the form that guided him to success in Budapest. Suffering an opening round exit in China, Falck was also stopped at the quarter-finals hurdle in Hong Kong – will his luck change in Busan?
Outside of the top 16 seeded players, Portugal’s Marcos Freitas and Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson also make the entry list and will be joined in qualification action by the likes of Germany’s Ricardo Walther and Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar.
In the women’s singles event, European hopefuls will first have to negotiate the two-day qualification tournament in Busan with the top 16 seeds all hailing from Asia.
Among the participants in Korea are Germany’s Nina Mittelham, Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova. Balazova is seeded in both the women’s doubles alongside Matelova and compatriot Lubomir Pistej in the mixed doubles.
Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier of France are also a seeded pair in the mixed doubles, while in the men’s doubles, Kristian Karlsson links up with fellow Swede, Anton Kallberg.