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MARTIN NOVOSEL

Top seed in the European Under 21 Championships Russia's Vladimir SIDORENKO successfully concluded his two rounds of Singles qualifications at the European Under 21 Championships in Croatia's town of Varazdin. On the second day of play, the best ranked European player at the rankings, Bastien REMBERT of France also preserved unbeaten status.

In his first match at the Event SIDORENKO overcame Belgium's Valentin PIERAERT (11:6, 12:10, 11:6, 11:5) in straight games.

“I feel little bit tired from the Russia's national Championships. We won in teams and I lost in quarterfinal of the Singles,” explained SIDORENKO.”This was a good win against Valentin, considering the fact that this is my first match here. It looks like easy straight games win, but it was very close.”

In the same group Leo De NODRES of France overcame Germany's Cedric MEISSNER (9:11, 6:11, 5:11, 10:12) in the opening round. In the second round SIDORENKO beat MEISSNER (11:4, 9:11, 11:8, 11:9, 11:8), whilst NODRES succeeded against PIERAERT (3:11, 6:11, 5:11, 9:11).

In Group two, Bastien REMBERT of France had a good start of the competition. Her overcame Jan ZANDECKI of Poland (11:5, 11:8, 11:4, 4:11, 11:9). In next, French player overcame Tobias HIPPLER (11:8, 11:4, 10:12, 11:8, 7:11, 11:7).

“I played against Tobias twice and he beat me in both occasions. I knew it is going to be difficult encounter. I had a much better service today, also I was confident with the receive and I managed to take complete control over the match,” said REMBERT.

In the same Group, Dimitrije LEVAJAC of Serbia recorded the victory over Germany's Tobias HIPPLER to upset the rankings (9:11, 6:11, 8:11, 16:14, 9:11), before he overcame Jan ZANDECKI (4:11, 5:11, 14:16, 6:11).

“I moved much better then yesterday and that is the most important for my game. I lost one match yesterday and finished second in the group, but it helped me to start the second day better prepared. It was not an easy match. I never had played against HIPPLER before. I was under pressure,” said LEVAJAC.

Europe's no. four Rares SIPOS of Romania suffered by the hands of Andrei PUTUNTICA of Moldova (16:18, 8:11, 11:9, 9:11, 6:11).

“We know each other very well. Only this year we played five times against each other in Germany's league. I beat him last time and that gave me some extra confidence. Also, I changed the way I approach the game mentally. My father helped me a lot to improve my self-confidence. I am not any more under big pressure how the adversary will play, now I am more focus on my game. The main goal is to give my best, non matter how it will end and how high my odds are. I am here to win the gold” said PUTUNTICA.

SIPOS managed to recover after the opening match defeat and to overcame Joan MASIP of Spain (9:11, 4:11, 11:8, 11:6, 11:6, 11:8). Despite the victory, he was very angry after the match.

“I won, but I am so unhappy with my game. I played my worst table tennis in last two years. I do not know what happened; I came well prepared; I am in good shape. Maybe, it is just one of these days,” said SIPOS.

Csaba ANDRAS of Hungary received the wild card to come to Varazdin, but it does not prevent him of beating all his adversaries yesterday and start the day with the victory over Tilen CVETKO of Slovenia (11:4, 11:7, 11:1, 11:7).

“I am well prepared; I had to play at the opening game in the qualifications but it helped me adjust to the venue and the conditions. I had a very good preparations and I am ready for the good result in Croatia,” said ANDRAS who beat Jules ROLLAND of France in second round (11:9, 11:13, 6:11, 11:5, 6:11, 9:11).

It was great difference between the matches in the upper and lower half of the draw. Unlike in the morning program, at the half of the day, winners had to work much harder for their victories.

Last year's champion Ioannis SGOUROPOULOS of Greece beat Artur GRELA of Poland after seven games (10:12, 13:11, 5:11, 5:11, 11:6l, 11:8, 7:11), and he needed one less to overcame Denis IVONIN of Russia (8:11, 11:9, 8:11, 11:6, 8:11, 11:13). In the same group, the other favorite did not prevail. In another seven games thriller Fanbo MENG of Germany beat top seed in Group 5 IVONIN (11:8, 4:11, 11:8, 11:8, 7:11, 10:12, 11:5). MENG also beat GRELA (11:6, 11:7, 11:4, 10:12, 12:10).

Cristian PLETEA of Romania also struggled. He was forced to go full distance in the opening match against Belgium's Adrien RASSENFOSSE (9:11, 8:11, 11:6, 11:9, 12:10, 5:11, 11:7), before he lost to Russia's Artur ABUSEV (5:11, 8:11, 9:11, 8:11). ABUSEV suffered by the hands of last year's runner up Gerrit ENGEMANN of Germany (10:12, 11:7, 9:11, 12:10, 6:11, 5:11). Lev KATSMAN of Russia beat the leading name in the Group F, Belgium's Laurens DEVOS (9:11, 8:11, 8:11, 11:5, 11:7, 11:9, 13:15)