by Simon Daish
Wegrzyn, seeded 62nd, impressed on the opening day of play with her victory over Group 9 favourite Ozge Yilmaz of Turkey. The 20-year-old couldn’t have asked for a better follow-up effort on day two as she needed just the three games to see off Croatia’s Hana Arapovic (11-6, 11-7, 11-6), securing top spot in the process.
“I am not under pressure. I do not think about the result, I just try to present myself in the best possible way.” Katarzyna Wegrzyn
Serbia’s Sabina Surjan and Belgium’s Margo Degraef find themselves with work to do in their pursuit of the main draw, with both players forced into the preliminary rounds after finishing second in their respective groups. No.38 seed Surjan was beaten to top spot in Group 6 by Austria’s Liu Yuan, who accounted for Slovakian opponent Ema Labosova in the morning session (11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7), while Andrea Pavlovic’s win over Latvia’s Sabina Musajeva (11-5, 11-5, 11-7) saw the Croatian leapfrog 44th seed Degraef in Group 12.
Elsewhere, Katsiaryna Baravok outperformed Group 15 favourite Filippa Bergand of Sweden after the no.60 seed from Belarus made it back-to-back straight games successes in the group with her victory over Italian counterpart Gaia Monfardini (11-8, 11-6, 11-8).
The men’s singles event turned its attention to preliminary round action as 32 players who missed out on main draw qualification first time around gave it another shot.
One man looking to put a disappointing start behind him was Benedek Olah after falling short in Group 1. The Finn did well to extend his stay in Warsaw after a hard earnt win over Danish counterpart Thor Christensen (11-9, 14-12, 17-19, 11-6) and will now face Belarus’ Pavel Platonov in the second qualifying round.
Another player who was hoping to progress ahead of the preliminary rounds, however, a runner-up finish in Group 7 meant no.39 seed Florent Lambiet would indeed require the additional trials and tribulations he had fought hard to avoid. Battling past Finland’s Alex Naumi 3-0 (13-11, 11-7, 11-7), Lambiet must now get the better of Turkey’s Ibrahim Gunduz if he is to achieve his goal of reaching the Round of 64.
The second-highest seeded pair involved in women’s doubles preliminary round action, Croatia’s Mateja Jeger and Andrea Pavlovic have been eliminated after losing out to Portugal’s Rita Fins and Ines Matos (12-10, 11-5, 11-13, 11-7). Over in the men’s doubles event a similar story panned out as no.20 seeds Panagiotis Gionis of Greece and Slovakia’s Wang Yang were stopped in their tracks by Latvia’s Arturs Reinholds and Estonia’s Vallot Vainula (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8).
“We have played with each other for a long time; we had preparations in Estonia for a week before the Championships and we also play in the same team in the league in Estonia. We know each other very well and have had fun playing together and preparing together after a long break.” Vallot Vainula
For more information regarding the Liebherr 2020 ITTF European Championships visit the official tournament website at https://www.ettu.org/en/events/ittf-european-individual-championships-/general-information/