OVTCHAROV radiate with the confidencePhoto: David Ramos/Getty Images
Belarus won against Czech Republic by narrow margin
In the quarterfinal of the Men’s Teams Event at the European Games in Baku, bronze medalists from the European Championships in Portugal last year, Sweden, will face silver medalists, top seeded team, Germany.
The same team of Sweden that played in Lisbon secured the place in quarters with the victory over Ukraine: Kristian KARLSSON , Pär GERELL and Jon PERSSON. Marcus SJÖBERG. Kristian KARLSSON won a close encounter against Yaroslav ZHMUDENKO.
“It was really close. KARLSSON was 1:6 in reverse in decisive game. Then I call for time out, so he narrowed the margin to 3:6. He started to play better and better, he regained his confidence. It was good for GERELL to start his match against KOU Lei, at 1:0. However, judging by the level of Par’s game, and the way he had played it will be extremely difficult for anyone to beat him today,” explained coach Marcus SJÖBERG.
In the doubles, Jon PERSSON and Ivan KATKOV joined same players from previous encounter. “It is very strange to play this format of the competition. Usually, if we play in doubles we have at least one match in between to take a break. Here, we have only five minutes to catch the breath,” said GERELL.
Judging by the result, it affected their adversaries more. Sweden won 3:0. Now they have more time to prepare for Germany. “Our biggest chance is to try to attack them in doubles. We have a lot of matches together and we are confident. If we can get with 1:1 to the third match that will open the door for us,” said GERELL.
Germany’s players justified their status. Timo BOLL, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and Patric BAUM, who joined national team after a few months break, beat Spain.
“Timo had an easy job against Alvaro ROBLES, whilst OVTCHAROV faced only few tough moments. He won the second game 19:17 against Carlos MACHADO, but generally we were never under severe pressure today, “explained coach Jorg ROSSKOPF.
BAUM was happy to be back in team. “I was a little bit nervous, but I am confident with my game now,” said BAUM.
Speaking about confidence, OVTCHAROV radiate with it. “When we look at the rankings, we are favorite against Sweden, but we are well aware who will be at the other side of the table. They are very good as team, they never give up and they fight up to the last point. However, since the time I am in the national team they have never beaten us…”
France with Adrien MATTENET, Simon GAUZY and Emmanuel LEBESSON beat Greece 3:1 with Gionis PANAGIOTIS being the only player to score for Greece. Most thrilling match came from their next adversaries – Belarus. Team led by Vladimir SAMSONOV beat Czech Republic after five matches. European champions team of Portugal also reached next round. Romania failed to halted their progress.
Austria succeeded against Croatia in straight matches. Robert GARDOS beat Tan RUIWU to give his team dream start.
“We got the draw just like we wanted. In addition things got better when we made a 2:0 lead. We counted on our point in doubles as safe one and sought for a chance to won at least one singles before. It turned up we did even better. We had 2:0 before the doubles,” explained GARDOS.
Stefan FEGERL beat Andrej GACINA. “We played twice before and in both encounters I beat him. Not only that event’s draw was just like we wanted, but the teams’ was perfect one. Unfortunately I was a bit nervous at the beginning so the couch advised me to change the tactics and to calm down. I was to passive and I had to do more to stop GACIN of playing his backhand. It is very dangerous stroke when you play against him. I changed the style and it paid off,” said FEGERL.
European champions and vice champions in Doubles Event , Daniel HABESOHN and GARDOS showed no trace of weakness against Tomislav PUCAR and TAN. “After 2:0, we were relaxed. It was an easy win.” Said HABESOHN.
They will play against Russia who also succeeded in straight matches against Hungary. “It is difficult to predict the outcome. A lot of will depend on team draw tomorrow.”