by Ian Marshall, Editor
Ukraine’s Viktor Yefimov and Moldova’s Vladislav Urdu also achieved the feat, but they followed a more straightforward route. Quite simply they remained unbeaten.
Games ratio the deciding factor
Very differently, on the initial day of action, in his opening contest Marco Rech Daldosso had experienced a five games defeat at the hands of Frenchman, Andrea Landrieu (7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 11-4). Success for Landrieu, but on his next visit to the table, he was beaten in four games by Serbia’s Marko Jevtovic (11-8, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10).
There was a ray of light for the Italian and he responded, overcoming Jevtovic with the loss of just one game (11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 11-8). One win apiece, thus games ratio decided the decision; first place for Marco Rech Daldosso (5:4), followed by Marko Jevtovic (4:4) and Andrea Landrieu (4:5).
Contrary to expectations
Surprise first positions, it was the same for five further players who commenced proceedings the second highest in their respective groups. Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki, Turkey’s Abdullah Yigenler and Aleksandr Khanin of Belarus all remained unbeaten to gain main draw places, as did Russia’s Lev Katsman and Vladimir Sidorenko.
Similarly in the women’s singles, Anna Hursey of Wales and Austria’s Liu Yuan, both commencing play the lowest names in their respective groups, remained unbeaten to reserve first position.
Not to be outdone Turkey’s Ece Harac, Croatia’s Andrea Pavlovic and Katsiaryna Baravok of Belarus topped their groups unscathed having commenced play, the second-highest group rated. Likewise, their efforts were emulated by host nation’s Katarzyna Wegrzyn, Ukraine’s Solomiya Brateyko, Sweden’s Christina Källberg and the Czech Republic’s Katerina Tomanovska.
Second chances seized
Meanwhile, for those players who had started matters as the top names in their respective groups but had ended in second position, there was only a relatively small degree of success.
In the men’s singles Pavel Platonov of Belarus and Ioannis Sgouropoulos of Greece advanced through the preliminary rounds to reserve main draw places – in the women’s singles it was the same for Serbia’s Sabina Surjan and Sweden’s Filippa Bergand.
Seeded combinations challenged
Qualification over, in the mixed doubles the opening round was contested; the most prominent pairs enjoying success.
Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova, the top seeds, received a walk-over against Slovenia’s Deni Kozul and Katarina Strazar; Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja, the no.3 seeds, dominated matters from start to finish against Serbia’s Zsolt Peto and Izabela Lupulesku (11-1, 11-7, 11-5).
Conversely, for the French pairing of Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan, the no.2 seeds, as well as for Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, the no.4 seeds, life was far more exacting.
Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan recovered from a two games to nil deficit and the brink of defeat in the third, to eventually overcome the combination formed by Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica and Croatia’s Andrea Pavlovic (8-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5). Less dramatically but the full five games required, Ovidiu Ionescu and Bernadette Szocs eventually accounted for Austria’s Daniel Habesohn and Liu Yuan (11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6).
Play in the mixed doubles continues on Thursday 24th June; in addition, the main draw in the men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s doubles commences.
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/