A delighted Lubomir Pistej after his victory over Werner
Schlager Photo By: Rémy Gros
WORLD TABLE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Nigeria’s Segun Toriola were the
players to cause the biggest upsets on the second day of play, Tuesday
22nd May 2007, at the Liebherr World Championships in Zagreb.
Lubomir Pistej ranked no.124 on the ITTF Men’s World Ranking list
beat Austria’s Werner Schlager, the 2003 World champion, currently
ranked no. 11 in the World, whilst Segun Toriola overcame Russia’s
Segun Toriola currently appears at no.119 on the ITTF Men’s World
Ranking list whilst Alexei Smirnov is at no. 18.
Lubomir Pistej won 11-5, 11-5, 4-11, 12-10, 11-7 whilst Segun
Toriola prevailed 3-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 13-11, 11-4.
“It’s incredible; I’ve played him three times and only once ever
won one single game”, said Lubomir Pistej. “A team mate gave me a
good tactic. I nearly always used a topspin service; I took risks and
today my head was good.”
For Lubomir Pistej it was a dream come true. “Before the match I
dreamt of winning”, continued the Slovakian. “Normally, he’s
simply too good for me.”
The crowd was stunned and so was the man playing on the next table,
France’s Patrick Chila; he couldn’t believe what had happened and
was immediately congratulated Pistej.
“See you”, he said. “A demain.” Lubomir Pistej meets Patrick
Chila in round two.
Meanwhile, for Segun Toriola it was a somewhat different situation, it
was the third time he’d played Alexei Smirnov and it was the second
time he had won.
“I played him in the Belgian League two weeks ago, I won
three-two”, said Segun Toriola who plays for Immo in Antwerp, whilst
Smirnov represents the winners of the 2006-2007 Champions League
title, Royal Villette Charleroi.
“Eventually I received service well today, that’s crucial against
Alexei, that why I lost the first two games, I returned service
badly”, said Segun Toriola. “He finds it difficult to block
against my topspins, if returned service well, then I had a chance, a
Segun Toriola grew in confidence as the match progressed; the heavy
topspin play combined with his speed won the day. “From the third
game onwards I attacked his service with heavy topspin rather than
returning with a push or a block”, continued the delighted Nigerian.
“He served half-long so I was able to attack his service.”
Nowadays, Segun Toriola plays all his table tennis in Europe but
he’ll be back in Africa in July 2007 for the African Games when
he’ll defend his Men’s Singles title. A title he has won on three
previous occasions. He won in 1995, 1999, 2003.
The victories of Segun Toriola and and Lubomir Pistej were the major
shocks; elsewhere matters went according to plan with Christian Süss
one of the players to impress. He beat Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia in
a tough seven games duel, a contest that was a credit to both players.
“At the beginning I was nervous and Tiago played well”, said the
German. “I made some mistakes today but in the seventh game I made a
good start.” Christian Süss dominated the seventh game having
trailed by three games to two.
“The first round is never easy”, he said. ”You are under
pressure, expectations are high but the fact that I came back to win
shows that I’m not in bad condition.”
Christian Süss won 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-3; a
creditable win but on Tuesday 22nd May 2007 the day belonged to Segun
Toriola and most definitely to Lubomir Pistej.