FREITAS survived the thriller to meet OVTCHAROV in the finalPhoto: Elena ELISEEVA
Matters went exactly according to seeding in the semi final of the Men’s Singles Event
As the seeding predicted, in the final of the Men’s Singles Event at the 2015 ITTF LIEBHERR European Championships will play two top seeded players – Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany and Marcos FREITAS of Portugal. OVTCHAROV beat Tiago APOLONIA of Portugal without due alarm; whilst Marcos FREITAS faced three games to one in reverse before he overcame Par GERELL of Sweden.
After German concluded opening game in fast line, APOLONIA put reigning champion under pressure in second and third 4:0 (11:5, 13:11, 11:9, 11:7).
"The second game was very important. At the end was a clear victory. Dima has played tactically very good. The two best players deservedly reached final. I think it is a worth seeing game, they know each other well, have played many duels against each other. Dima is now a bit fresher than yesterday. This gives hope", said national coach Jörg ROSSKOPF.
History most certainly favoured Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, in World ranking events he had faced Tiago APOLONIA on seven previous occasion, winning five of the encounters but if just the most recent three duels only were considered then the advantage was with Tiago. Impressively, Dimitrij had won the first four duels; in 2008 he had prevailed at the Erke Austrian Open, in 2011 at the Europe Top 12 and the Brazil Open; whilst at the 2012 European Championships, he had emerged successful.
Later in 2014 they were to meet three times; Dimitrij OVTCHAROV won on home soil at the GAC Group ITTF World Tour German Open but at the DHS Europe Cup and the TMS European Team Championships in Lisbon, the verdict had gone the way of Tiago Apolonia. However, in Lisbon, OVTCHAROV was somewhat below his best, he had only recently returned from dental surgery.
Marcos FREITAS, the no. two seed in Ekaterinburg successfully emerged to the final of the men’s Singles Event, but the victory did not come in easy way. Marcos recovered from the three one in reverse to win the fantastic duel against Par GERELL of Sweden 4:3 (6:11, 11:3, 8:11, 8:11, 11:4, 13:11, 11:8).
“I was ready for the hard match. We played so many matches against each other in the French League. In last two or three occasions I beat him, so I was confident; I knew what I have to do,” said FRAITAS.
It proved that GERELL also had a reason to be confident.
“He played at highest level. It was not only his service game that made the damage, but he moved superbly, he was dangerous on both sides; on backhand and forehand.”
In fifth game, the time for changes had come.
“I moved to another gear. I had nothing to lose any more; I had to risk; to move faster. The passive approach to the game could lead me to fast defeat. I started to attack from every, not only safe position. It brought me to the final.”
When it comes to their previous International meetings, the Portuguese star had won two of the three encounters. At the LIEBHERR 2012 World Team Championships in Dortmund the decision had gone in favour of Pär GERELL but on the next two meetings it had been Marcos FREITAS who succeeded. He won when they met at the TMS 2014 European Team Championships and earlier this year at the 2015 European Games.