(BY MATT HETHERINGTON)
Men’s Singles Draw Begins, Top Seed Falls
The Men’s Group stages were completed early in the day as the second day of the 2017 US Open Table Tennis Championships commenced at the Las Vegas Convention Center. A host of high caliber players fought their way into the main draw and it was plain sailing for most, although some lost out to 0 rated players in the bottom of their groups who had come from overseas destinations to compete. One interesting result was that of Thomas Pellny came from the bottom of his group to win 4-0 against Ruichao Chen and advance into the main draw. Perhaps the biggest match of the day was between Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar and France’s Damien Eloi. The top seeded Pucar currently ranked 84 in the world on the December ITTF World Rankings, but his opponent a 4-time Olympian and still a regular competitor at the top of Germany’s second division league. Eloi had already overcome Korea’s Min Jun Park in the last 64 in a 5 game matchup. The battle between Eloi and Pucar on the other hand extended all the way to the 7th game with serve and receive a major factor in the match. Eloi dazzled with his jumping forehand flip-kill shots throughout the match, while Pucar gave the frenchman trouble with his short reverse pendulum serve to the forehand. Both players swung back and forth throughout the match but in the end it was the former World Top 20 player Eloi who advanced into the last 16.
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