Twice Silver Medalist Roko Tosic Leads Host Nation’s Charge on Opening Day
2015 ITTF World Tour Zagreb (Croatia) Open
Courtesy of ITTF
May 19, 2015 – The runner up in both 2012 and the following year in 2013 but in recent times absent from the international scene, Roko Tosic led the host nation’s charge on the first day of play, Tuesday May 19th, in the Men’s Singles event at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Zagreb (Croatia) Open.
Beaten by colleague Tan Ruiwu in the final in 2012 and by Frenchman Abdel-Kader Salifou in 2013; the 36 year old Croatian overcame Korea’s Kim Doyub (11-3, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9) and Argentina’s Pablo Tabachnik (6-11, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7) to secure first place in the group and upset the global order.
Currently, Kim Doyub is listed at no.284 on the Men’s World Rankings; Pablo Tabachnik, who is one of several South Americans on duty as they prepare for the forthcoming Pan American Games in Toronto, is at no.277.
First place in the group for Roko Tosic against the odds; his efforts were emulated by colleagues Miho Simovic and Ronald Redjep.
Similar to Roko Tosic, neither possesses a current World ranking.
Arguably Ronald Redjep enjoyed the more comfortable journey to first place in the group; he beat Luxembourg’s 53 year old Trajan Ciociu (11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8) before gaining a walk-over against the absent Austrian, Dominik Habesohn, list at no.222 on the current global listings.
Similar to Ronald Redjep, the World ranking of Trajan Ciociu has lapsed owing to international inactivity.
A relatively comfortable experience for Ronald Redjep; life was more testing for Miho Simovic.
He beat England’s David McBeath (11-9, 10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8) and Belgium’s Lauric Jean by the very narrowest of seven games decisions (12-10, 12-10, 2-11, 4-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9) to secure first place.
Presently, David McBeath is named at no.326 on the World Rankings, Lauric Jean is at 232.
First places in their respective groups; however, it does not guarantee a place in the main draw; both Roko Tosic and Miho Simovic appear in groups where they must succeed in a preliminary round to advance to the second stage.
In the qualification phase there are 43 groups, players finishing in first places in group no.1 to group no.21 advance directly to the main draw where they join the 32 seeds in a first round of 64 competitors. Players competing in group no.22 to group no.43 must compete in a preliminary round.
Home Success as Anticipated
Success for two Croatians against expectations; there were successes for four more as anticipated in the group qualification stage; one match played, one success.
Filip Zeljko beat Chile’s Enrique Massaro (11-5, 11-5, 11-6, 11-4), Frane Kojic accounted for San Marino’s Lorenzo Ragni (8-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7); while Filip Cipin defeated Frenchman Andrea Landrieu (11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8) and Tomislav Pucar succeeded in an epic duel against Korea’s Kang Minho (17-15, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2, 15-13).
“I knew I’d have to play very well to win. I watched his matches on YouTube, I was well prepared”, said Tomislav Pucar. “Admittedly, I had some problems in the seventh game when I had 8:2 lead but I still managed to win in the end; it is still is a long way for me to reach the main draw.”
No World Ranking but First Places
Wins as expected but in addition to Roko Tosic and Miho Simovic, there were two further players who secured first places in their respective groups and currently possess no World ranking.
Japan’s Yoshiro Ozawa beat Hungary’s Bence Majoros and Serbia’s Bojan Crepula; while Frenchman Tristan Flore overcame Argentina’s Rodrigo Gilabert (11-4, 11-4, 14-12, 12-10) and Chile’s Felipe Olivares (11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4).
Presently Bence Majoros is named at no.297 on the Men’s World Rankings, Bojan Crepula at no.261; meanwhile, Rodrigo Gilabert is at no.289, Felipe Olivares at no.273.
Leading Names on Day One Unbeaten
Arguable surprises but where the leading players were concerned, there were no upsets; for the top eight named players on opening day duty it was one visit to the table, one success.
Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the leading name in first day duty enjoyed success as did the German duo of Benedikt Duda and Lars Hielscher, the next in the order of merit. Similarly it was a successful initial day venture for Mexico’s Marcos Madrid and Spain’s Marc Duran as it was for Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, Japan’s Takuya Jin and Frenchman Antoine Hachard.
Proceedings in the group stage conclude on Wednesday May 20th.
Visit ITTF.com for more on the 2015 ITTF World Tour Zagreb (Croatia) Open.