SIDORENKO: Home crowd gives me extra confidencePhoto: Alex LOMAEV
STAG 2017 European Under 21 Championships
The opening day of the 2017 STAG European Under 21 Championships was packed with actions. The Group stages concluded today in Sochi and tomorrow we will continue with the group matches in phase two with eight groups. Two best players from each group will progress to the knock out phase.
In Group one Belgium’s Martin ALLEGRO beat Ibrahim GÜNDÜZ of Turkey and Tom Jarvis of England to justified his status. On the other side, JARVIS beat the odds and with victory over GÜNDÜZ progressed to the next phase (12-14, 8-11, 6-11, 7-11).
“The crucial moment was when I won the opening game. I was 7-10 down. Ibrahim is a very good player; this is important win for me,” said JARVIS who recently moved to play in Sweden.
One of the biggest upsets in the morning program, was created by Belgium’s Thibaut DARCIS. Seeded only at the position no. 50, he beat host nation ace, no. 16 seed Konstantin CHERNOV (14-16, 11-8, 6-11, 11-13, 11-13).
“It is always like that in the opening matches. It is hard for everyone and I seized my opportunity. I was better in tight finishes; little things prevailed. I was aware of his dangerous service game; in rallies I was very well. We had meet only two years ago but since then we both changed a lot in our games,” said DARCIS.
Simon BERGLUND of Sweden overcame Maciej KOLODZIEJCZYK of Austria in the opening round in the same group (11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2). KOLODZIEJCZYK also suffered by the hands of Konstantin CHERNOV of Russia (11-4, 11-6, 12-14, 11-3, 11-5) one round later.
“I could not believe until the last game I could win,” said CHERNOV.
BERGLUND beat DARCIS (11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9) at the end of the day.
“I am in a very good shape and I am feeling good playing here,” said BERGLUND, who finished first ahead of CHERNOV.
In Group 5 Diogo CHEN won all three matches; he beat Samuel KALUZNY of Slovakia (11-9, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-1), Ioannis SGOUROPOULOS of Greece (11-9, 11-5, 11-9, 11-3) and Carlo ROSSI of Italy (11-7, 11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5). SGOUROPOULOS booked second position. In the opening game he prevailed against ROSSI (11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7).
“I am not afraid of the competition here because I came well prepared. There are very good players in the hall now, but I am just thinking about one step ahead. I am focused on my game,” said SGOUROPOULOS.
In the opening round, Sadi ISMAILOV of Russia beat Alexandru MANOLE of Romania in straight games (11-4, 11-9, 11-2, 11-6). He showed no mercy.
“I had to play that way. This is very important tournament for me. Look at the atmosphere - it is great. It is great to play in front of home crowd; my whole family is here. I cannot let this entire audience down. That is why I was so focused, not to make easy mistakes, especially in the opening match which is always hard,” said ISMAILOV. MANOLE overcame Florian CNUDDE of Belgium in direct battle for the second position (9-11, 13-11, 11-7, 5-11, 10-12, 11-6, 10-12).
Vladimir SIDORENKO, Russia’s military cadet, overcame Aleksandr LUSIN of Estonia (11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6).
“Playing at home gives me extra confidence. I am feeling good.”
The youngest member of the Russia’s team, 16 years old Vladimir continued in the same pace in the second round. He beat Group’s no. one QIU Dang of Germany (4-11, 11-8, 11-4, 8-11, 6-11, 11-13).
“It was very close at the end. Very tough duel,” said SIDORENKO.
SIDORENKO suffered in the last round against Stanislav KUCERA of Czech Republic, that launched QIU back to the top of the Group, whilst Russia’s player finished second.
In Group 7 Marek BADOWSKI of Poland is first ahead of Rares SIPOS of Romania. In the same group Medardas STANKEVICIUS of Lithuania suffered against BADOWSKI in the opening round (11-8, 11-9, 11-2, 11-8), but managed to recover to beat Helshan WEERASINGHE of England (1-11, 11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 11-3, 6-11).
“I do not like short rallies, but this time I was forced to change my tactics. WEERASINGHE forced me with his aggressive play,” said STANKEVICIUS who recovered from the injury.” I was out of the game for a six months, but now everything is fine.”
Patryk ZATOWKA of Poland was not in the mood for mercy today. He beat Mathan SIMON of Israel (11-7, 1-7, 12-10, 12-14, 7-11, 11-6), Andreas LEVENKO of Austria (11-8, 7-11, 5-11, 9-11, 7-11) and Martin KHATCHANOV of Netherlands (11-8, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8).
“I am so full of confidence. I just knew I am going to win,” said ZATOWKA.
LEVENKO is second.
Janos Bence MAJOROS of Hungary confirmed his status as a leader in the Group three and beat Gleb SHAMRUK of Belarus, but after full seven games match (7-11, 7-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8).
“I am happy with the victory of course, bust most important, it is good to have such Championships. There are not plenty of opportunities to gain experience in the tough period between junior and senior category,” said MAJOROS.
He also prevailed against Alexander VALUCH of Slovakia. Gleb SHAMRUK finished second.
With two wins in two opening rounds Anders LIND of Denmark also progressed to the next phase of the competition. In the first round he beat Thomas GRINNIGER of Austria (10-12, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5) and in next he prevailed against Dennis KLEIN of Germany (9-11, 11-5, 7-11, 8-11, 5-11).
“ The opening game was very difficult. I had to attack a lot.”