GIONIS tested OVTCHAROV, but champion prevailedPhoto: Elena ELISEEVA
Two players from Portugal in tomorrow semis
Reigning champion in Men Singles Event and top seed, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV booked his place in the semi final of the 2015 LIEBHERR ITTF European Championships in Ekaterinburg. Despite spirited performance Panagiotis GIONIS of Greece failed to halt OVTCHAROV’s progress 4:2 (8:11, 12:10, 4:11, 11:5, 11:4, 11:9).
In the opening game it was GIONIS who took the full control of the match, but in the next OVTCHAROV recovered. GIONIS kept the winning rhythm until the set ball at 10:6, but OVTCHAROV leveled and won that game -12:10. In furious style, GIONIS made 2:1 lead, leaiving OVTCHAROV with only 4 points in third game. After that European champion regain control once gain. There were a slight chance for GIONIS at 7:5 in sixth game, but he failed find the answer on OVTCHAROV’s attacks.
"It was a very difficult game, it demanded a lot of power. I felt tired from the beginning. It is a very long tournament for me. I had prepared myself well and do not know why I had felt a sugar crash in the first game. He has also played brilliantly, very clever, with much more variation then in the team event. GIONIS has studied my game well and put me under pressure. In first three games he was the better player. I can be happy that it was only 1:2. After that I was the better one.”
Speaking about the crucial moments in the match OVTCHAROV said:
"If the second game went away at 6:10, it will not be the end of the World, but for sure it will make my situation little bit difficult. I am glad that I won it. I do not have much time to recover now. It is going to be another hard day,” stated OVTCHAROV.
Ruwen FILUS of Germany performed expertly in the early stages of the quarterfinal match against Tiago APOLONIA of Portugal but when it came to the final stages he just lost his steam 3:4 (11:6, 11:7, 7:11, 18:16, 8:11, 2:11, 4:11).
“At the beginning it was very difficult. I knew in theory what to do but when you enter the arena it is usually different story. Whatever was my plan it did not work at the beginning,” admitted APOLONIA.
FILUS defensive style of play did not suit APOLONIA.
“I am not adjusted to that style. I only played one match against Adam PATTANTYUS here. It was opening round in Team Event at the very first day.”
Fourth game RUWEN won 18:16, before he had a lead 2:1.
“After that it was 10:5 for him, but I won fifth game. From that moment I stopped to think about the tactics. I just played ball for ball. I was just thinking to put the ball at the table,” said APOLONIA whose best result in Singles at the European Championships was quarterfinal in 2013.
Another Portugal’s player booked his place in the semis. After battle of epic proportions, Marcos FREITAS beat Robert GARDOS to avenge his defeat in the Team Event 3:4 (13:11, 8:11, 11:9, 2:11, 6:11, 11:9, 7:11).
“It is my first medal at the European Championships in singles. My goal was to won the medal in Team and Singles Events here and that is why I gave up playing in doubles. It proved as a right decision from this perspective,” said FREITAS.
The match started in favor of Austria’s player.
“He is one of the best players in the hall here. Robert already beat me in the Team Event. In the opening game he won one lucky ball and that pushed me out of the rhythm. I was angry that I lost point in that way in very important moment. Everyone wants to win the opening game, because it always gives some sort of mental advantage. The second one went on my account, and all games that followed were fifty-fifty,” said FREITAS.
Par GERELL exceeded his previous best result in the Singles Event at European Championships by beating Andrej GACINA of Croatia in the quarterfinal 4:1 (9:11, 11:9, 11:9, 12:10, 11:6). He reached the quarterfinals in Stuttgart in 2009.
“I lost the opening game, but at the beginning we were tested each other, we tried to adjust our service and receive game…It is normal. After that I felt how to play against him; imposed my rhythm. I was under pressure only in the fourth game. It was 10:6 and then 10:10, before I won that game at 12:10,” said GERELL.