Portugal faced spirited youngstersPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
Perfect 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships
In the morning program of the Men’s Event at the Perfect 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Portugal recorded straight matches victory over Belarus. The player who can cause most of the damage, Vladimir SAMSONOV was not in the playing line up for Belarus for this match. However, the match against unknown players proved it could be risky business as well.
At the very beginning of the duel Marcos FREITAS faced inspired Aliaksandr KHANIN who stretched the World’s no. 11 to full distance.
“It is tough to play against the unknown adversary. I did not know what to expect. From the opening moments of the match he established the lead. It makes me feel uncomfortable and less confident. He received my service very well. It took me some time to regain the control,” said Marcos FREITAS.
Joao MONTEIRO beat Pavel PLATONOV, before Tiago APOLONIA sealed the match with the victory over Gleb SHAMRUK.
“As I told yesterday, the key moment of the match will be to stop SAMSONOV. He did not play; instead we faced unknown youngsters who played very well. We had to adjust quickly. I had to be focused from the first moment of the game.”
Asked about reason for his absence from the match, SAMSONOV answered.
“I am struggling a bit with the knee and elbow injury, but I hope it will be better before the afternoon’s match against Ukraine.”
Only 17- years old KHANIN was the main topic of brief encounter in the mix zone.
“He is the player with the variety of strokes, well balanced and complete. Mentally, KHANIN is already very strong and his service, return and backhand are very good,” SAMSONOV praised his teammate.
KHANIN himself was pleased about his performance, despite the defeat.
“I played very well. Against FREITAS in the second game I had a set ball at 10:6, I had few opportunities in the decisive game. I have the tendency to speed up the game unnecessarily. I have to learn to slow down and to have more patience.”
Surprisingly KHANIN added:
“For me it is easier to play here. In the junior category I am under bigger pressure. I have to face the players from the same category and I have to achieve the expectations. Here I am free from that kind of thinking.”