Frenchman Emmanuel Lebesson, 2016 European men’s table tennis champion, made an unexpected early exit from the last edition of the Championships in Warsaw today.
Seeded 14, Lebesson was beaten in the round of 16 by Romania’s 47th seed Hunor Szocs, who won 11-8, 13-11, 12-10, 11-13, 11-8 at the Arena COS Torwar in the Polish capital.
Local player Samuel Kulczycki provided another surprise on Matchday 3 of the championships, beating No. 22 seed Kiril Skachkov of Russia to advance to the round of 16.
The 80-seeded Kulczycki won 11-7 in the deciding seventh game after the Russian led 5-2.
Swedish seed and 2019 world championship silver medalist Mathias Falck – ranked world number eight – also had to come back to the brink of defeat before beating Belarusian Pavel Platonov 6-11, 9-11, 11-8 , 11-6, 6-11, 11-2, 11-9.
But for reigning 40-year-old German men’s singles champion Timo Boll, looking to build on his record-breaking seven titles, it was an easy day as he defeated Denmark’s Tobias Rasmusen in consecutive matches 11-3 , 11-5, 11-8, 11-5.
The shock of the day in the women’s round of 16 was the defeat of German eighth seed Nina Mittelham to 49th Turkish Sibel Altinkaya, who won 3-11, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10 , 3-11, 11-5, 13-11.
These delayed championships are expected to end on Sunday (June 27).
The European Table Tennis Union postponed the event last August due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the host country, Poland, as well as increased travel restrictions.
The tournament was originally scheduled to take place September 15-20.
With the European Championships organized a month before Tokyo 2020, this is an opportunity for players to test their form before the Olympic Games.