Simon GAUZY recovered from the shocking defeatPhoto: Linda KARLSSON
2016 ITTF-European Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Swedish city of Halmstad
The eight remaining names in the game for the two last tickets for Rio in Men’s Event at the 2016 ITTF-European Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Swedish city of Halmstad are: Emmanuel LEBESSON of France, Daniel GORAK of Poland, Stefan FEGERL of Austria, KOU Lei of Ukraine, Paul DRINKHALL of England, Simon GAUZY of France, Jonathan GROTH of Denmark and Benedek OLAH of Finland.
Emmanuel LEBESSON got more time to rest since his duel of the third round, against top seeded player was over very quickly. In early stages of the match Vladimir SAMSONOV was forced to withdraw due the back injury.
“I had a very tough match against Panagiotis GIONIS yesterday. Already then I felt the pain in my back. During the night and this morning it intensified. It worsened against Florent LAMBIENT and now against Emmanuel LEBESSON I could not even play my forehand. I had to withdraw,” explained SAMSONOV.
The match between 53 years old HE Zhiwen of Spain and Daniel GORAK of Poland also was interrupted for medical reasons, before GORAK progressed to the next round.
Despite great support from the home crowd in thrilling seven games duel, Kristian KARLSSON failed to beat Stefan FEGERL.
“I am surprised by this victory. When we met last time at the Top 16, I had no chances. However after 2:2 and 3:3 I saw I could beat him. I had to risk more and when the tactics proved right I kept in the same rhythm,” explained FEGERL. “ I had a relay hard day today. I played seven games against WANG Zengyi as well.”
Jonathan GROTH also left the playing field among the last. He was stretched to full distance against Robert GARDOS of Austria.
“Sometimes is not the tactics that keep you winning; sometimes is just the fighting spirit. I did not want to give up and I kept on fighting. I gave everything to beat him and at the end two balls decided the winner,” said GROTH.
Benedek OLAH overcame Andrej GACINA.
“This is my best win in career. I hope it gives me the ticket for Rio. My dreams came true. I can be thankful for fantastic preparations in Budapest and hard work of coach Peter ARANYOSI. This is the big relief,” OLAH could not find the words to describe the happiness.
Paul DRINKHALL needed six games to beat his friend Ovidiu IONESCU of Romania to reach the place among top eight players..
“It was fantastic games with unbelievable rallies. It is a shame it is not on video. We had practicing for years in Bremen and we knew each other so well. We have to play at our best to beat each other,” explained DRINKHALL.
Simon GAUZY overcame another Romanian player, Hunor SZOCS.
“He played like he was on fire. It never happened to me to be in situation even not to touch 15 or 20 balls in one match. The main thing was to keep calm and to wait for the good moment,” said GAUZY.