In the 2nd qualifying round of the men’s singles, Panagiotis Gionis’ progress at the World Table Tennis Singapore Smash was stopped. Early in the morning today 09/03 in Greek time he gave another strong match in 5 sets, he lost 3-2 to the excellent young German Kay Stuber and could not go to the decisive 3rd round and play for the qualification to the main dashboard.
In a match with an exciting development, he gained a small lead in the last set, but conceded consecutive points and went into a disadvantageous position. Gionis undoubtedly showed that he had the potential to advance to the main draw, however at the same time it appeared that since he is still suffering in matches and training from the chronic problem in the Achilles tendon it is not possible to reach the highest level of performance. Even with this additional difficulty, he will proceed with the 2024 Olympic Games in sight and in the first phase he will expect from the Smash tournament a benefit for the world ranking. The national federal coach Kostas Vatsaklis was with him in the Asian country.
The top defender (number 91 today in the world ranking) had a winning start at “64” when he took down the 2nd favorite of the qualifying table, the Ukrainian Yaroslav Zmudenko, with 3-2 sets. He had a high obstacle in front of him today Thursday, as the European champion of the singles for teenagers in 2021, Kay Stuber (number 142 in the ranking list) is steadily developing and has virtues against and in defense.
Gionis narrowly took the 1st set, but in the next two he lost his rhythm, made many mistakes and at the same time the German imposed his game. Using his experience, our champion found a reaction with correct tactics and attacks in difficult places to reach the equaliser. In addition, he led 4-2 in the 5th set, sometimes confusing his 20-year-old opponent with the forehand. In the 5th set, however, Stuber had a habit of attacking the forehand a lot seeing that Gionis was lacking in freshness and did not have the best movement on the table. He got a lot of points this way, went straight ahead and the Greek ace was affected in the concentration part to find himself at 6-10 and finally know the defeat (11-9, 3-11, 4-11, 11-6, 8-11).
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