Preparation for Worlds
In preparation for the May World Individual Championships, the Irish Men and Women’s Senior teams were in Luxembourg at the Luxembourg Open. The “Luxembourg Open Table Tennis Championships” Event is officially recognized by ETTU and ITTF and all played matches will be taken into account for the World Ranking. The tournament features some top players, led by top seed Pistej Lubomir of Slovakia who is just outside the top 100 Men in the world and Timina Elena of the Netherlands who is Nr.102 in the ITTF World Rankings. The Irish squad is made up of National Champion John Murphy and Paul McCreery, with Ulster’s Amanda Mogey and Ashley Givan on the Women’s team.
Draw and Format
In the first day of play, the Irish Men were drawn against ‘France 2’ in the Team event, while the Women were drawn against Brazil. The Team Events’ matches (Men and Women) is played with teams of 2 players, according to a “reduced Corbillon-Cup system” with 2 single matches ( A1 against B1 and A2 against B2 ) and 1 double match, which shall however be played only if the score after the two single matches is 1:1.
Results – Men
In the Qualifying Round, Ireland produced a good performance to beat ‘France 2’. McCreery beating Pineau in a thrilling five setter before Murphy dropped a match to Brosson, with the Irish eventually clinching victory with a solid Doubles performance to progress. The duo then lost to ‘Sweden 1’, SODERLUND and ANDERSSON. McCreery lost the first -11, -4, -2 while Murphy battled hard against Soderlund taking the first two sets but eventually losing 3-2. Israel eventually clinched the title in somewhat unfortunate fashion as Iran refused to fulfil the fixture.
In the Singles, McCreery lost is straight sets in the 1st Round to Sargu of Romania. Playing for places, McCreery also lost his next match to the Ukrainian Pysar, before claiming two wins over Pineau from France and Roose of Sweden to finish 72nd overall. Murphy also lost 4:1 to Ter Luun of the Netherlands in the first round, before recording his solitary victory over Samsan from Bahrain to finish 78th.
Results – Women
In the First Round, Ireland had a very tough draw against 3rd seeds brazil. A surprise was never on the cards as Mogey and Givan lost both matches without picking up a set. Into the Classification Round and the Irish had a truly nailbiting encounter against ‘Sweden 2’, with each of the 3 matches going to 5 sets. Givan picked up an excellent win in the singles over APPELGREN before the duo closed out the match with a stunning doubles victory. In the Women’ final Belarus overcame Romania with Camelia POSTOACA and Andrada VINCZE.
In the Singles, Givan took the first set but eventually lost 4:1 to GONDERINGER of Luxembourg and struggled to find a win in the event, although came close in a thrilling 4:3 loss to Michelle Quach(11-9 in the 7th).
Mogey eventually claimed a Singles victory for the Irish, beating Michelle QUACH of Sweden 4:2. She then faced top seed Timina in the next round – Timina was too strong and won in straight sets – she went on to win the competition outright. Playing for places, Mogey defeated home player Schlink and Swede Appelgren to finish 36th overall.