Antibes rejoices as Simon GAUZY powers past Timo BOLLPhoto: ITTF
Cheers of ‘ALLEZ SIMON!!!’ filled the Azur Arena in Antibes after the host nation’s Simon GAUZY put in a delightful showing to defeat five-time champion of the tournament Timo BOLL at the quarterfinal of the 2017 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup.
GAUZY overcame BOLL at both the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships and the Liebherr 2016 European Championships and now the Frenchman has beaten BOLL in their first encounter of 2017 in the quarter-finals stage of the Europe Top 16 competition.
After the opening three games it was BOLL who held the advantage but, with the help of the home crowd, GAUZY continued to fight and the capture of three successive games gave the 22-year-old the win (11-8, 3-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7).
“I performed quite well. I’ve beaten him the last four times so it was hard for him to play against me. But in the end he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t allow himself to lose four or five times in a row to the same player so I had to think about two, three, four different types of tactics against him because he played incredibly aggressive in the second and third games so I had to play a little bit faster, a little bit more aggressive and it worked out”, Simon GAUZY.
Alexander SHIBAEV was a big headline maker at the 2016 Europe Top 16 event in Gondomar, Portugal where he surprisingly managed to finish in third position.
One year later in Antibes, the Russian player will once again have the chance to finish on the podium, after he edged out the no.7 seed Tiago APOLONIA in seven games to move into the semi-finals (11-5, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5).
“I’m quite happy with the performance I gave, and my psychological feelings. Maybe it wasn’t my best match but I’m quite happy and tomorrow we will go again… I’m quite okay with playing Simon GAUZY in the last four and I’m going to be ready for tomorrow’s game”, Alexander SHIBAEV.
Also moving through to the last four is Ukraine’s tournament debutant KOU Lei after he saw off Croatia’s Andrej GACINA across seven games. KOU, who defeated Vladimir SAMSONOV in his last match of day one, put in a strong display in his match with GACINA on the second day of the event and was able to prevent the Croatian player from stealing the result (11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6).
The other semi-finalist is Germany’s Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, following his straight games win over Stefan FEGERL of Austria (11-4, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9).
OVTCHAROV is the Men’s Singles winner of the previous two Europe Top 16 competitions and he is just two match wins away from potentially picking up the 2017 title.