Maria Tsaptsinos in action in Alicante (ITTF picture, Remy Gros)

England aces impress as Euros open

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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Paul Drinkhall, Sam Walker and Tin-Tin Ho all notched two singles victories out of two, while Maria Tsaptsinos beat an athlete ranked 145 places above her as the European Championships opened in Alicante today.

Ho, top seed in Group 6, was first on court and she saw off Spain’s Alba Fernandez in four straight in her first match and later added the scalp of Airi Avameri of Estonia, also in four.

That scoreline was matched in impressive fashion by Maria Tsaptsinos in her first match as she defeated Belgium’s Nathalie Marchetti, who is ranked 145 places above her in the world at No 146.

She was then beaten 4-2 by the group’s top seed, Mateja Jeger of Croatia, but is in a good position ahead of her final match tomorrow.

Drinkhall and Walker were up against relative minnows from San Marino and Iceland respectively and opened their accounts with straightforward wins, although Walker did drop game two before blasting through the next three.

Both men then followed up with 4-0 victories over Abdullah Yigenler (TUR) and Miguel Vilchez (ESP) respectively later in the day.

The third group matches are scheduled for tomorrow. Liam Pitchford is seeded 10th and therefore goes straight through to the knockout stage of the men’s singles.

Tsaptsinos was also in mixed doubles action, alongside Callum Evans of Wales, and they progressed to the second preliminary round with a close 3-1 win over Turkish opponents. The doubles continues tomorrow, with Walker, Ho and Drinkhall all in action in their respective pairs.

Of the other Home Nations players, Evans notched a terrific 4-0 win over Tamas Lakatos of Hungary, ranked 302 places above him at No 133, and was then beaten 4-0 by the group’s top seed, Lionel Weber of Switzerland. In the same group, Colin Dalgleish lost 4-0 to Weber and Lakatos.

Scotland’s Yaser Razouk lost 4-0 to both Mihai Bobocica (ITA) and Tobias Rasmussen (DEN), Jordan Wykes of Jersey went down 4-0 to Russian Alex Shibaev and 4-1 to Carlos Franco of Spain, while Alex Gillen of Ireland was defeated 4-0 by Benedek Olah (FIN) and 4-1 by Luka Mladenovic (LUX).

In the women’s singles, Charlotte Carey of Wales began with a 4-0 defeat of Scotland’s Rebecca Plaistow, followed by a 4-3 defeat by Spain’s Sara Ramirez. Plaistow was then beaten 4-0 by Lisa Lung of Belgium.

Lucy Elliott of Scotland was defeated 4-0 by both Dana Cechova of the Czech Republic and Emina Hadziahmetovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Results

Men’s Singles
Group 2
Paul Drinkhall bt Mattias Monguisti (SMR) 4-0 (11-3, 11-4, 11-4, 11-4)
Drinkhall bt Abdullah Yigenler (TUR) 4-0 (11-5, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4)

Group 11
Sam Walker bt Magnus Hjartarson (ISL) 4-1 (11-4, 9-11, 11-1, 11-0, 11-4)
Walker bt Miguel Vilchez (ESP) 4-0 (11-4, 12-10, 11-3, 11-3)

Women’s Singles
Group 6
Tin-Tin Ho bt Alba Fernandez (ESP) 4-0 (13-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-4)
Ho bt Airi Avameri (EST) 4-0 (11-6, 11-9, 11-1, 11-5)

Group 14
Maria Tsaptsinos bt Nathalie Marchetti (BEL) 4-0 (12-10, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5)
Mateja Jeger (CRO) bt Tsaptsinos 4-2 (11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 14-12, 3-11, 11-6)

Mixed Doubles
Preliminary round one
Callum Evans (WAL) & Maria Tsaptsinos bt Abdullah Yigenler & Ozge Yilmaz (TUR) 3-1 (10-12, 12-10, 12-10, 11-5)

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