Gold for Tomislav PUCAR in SochiPhoto: Alex LOMAEV
2017 STAG European Under 21 Championships
Tomislav PUCAR of Croatia is the crowned champion of the Men’s Singles Event at the 2017 STAG European Under 21 Championships. In the final he beat Germany’s QIU Dang (6-11, 2-11, 11-9, 12-14, 9-11).
After furious start PUCAR found himself in dangerous situation against QIU.
“I had advantage with the 2:0 lead, but when QIU won the third game it made me nervous. I tried to stay calm. I knew he love to play soft balls and his very strong on backhand. So I changed my tactics and I am very satisfied with my forehand, which helped me a lot today” said PUCAR. ”For me semi final was the final before the final. Darko put me on severe test. That challenge was much harder then this.”
The semi final duel between no. two and no. three seed ended according to rankings. Tomislav PUCAR beat Slovenia’s Darko JORGIC (11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 11-13, 12-14, 3-11).
“I am no. two seed here and everybody is motivated to play against me. I do not let the pressure affect my game. I do not care who is at the opposite side, but for sure JORGIC was very dangerous adversary,” said PUCAR.” I won the opening game, and in next Darko took his game to the next level. I had to stay calm and that is exactly what helped. I seized my opportunity when Darko become nervous; I saw that moment and took advantage. I do not like to play long rallies, because I am tall, I prefer to attack and that is what I did today. With good receives I played to the corners,” said PUCAR.
After being 3 games to one in reverse QIU Dang made remarkable recovery to beat Deni KOZUL of Slovenia in other semi final (12-10, 10-12, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6).
“After all, it all comes to self confidence. I believed I could win this match. I was looking for a way all the time out when I was down,” explained QIU. “ I played against Deni three or four years before and he improved his game very much. It was very hard to find the game against him. I changed the tactics, the speed, the rhythm, distance from the table…I tried everything and then my service game started to bring me advantage. I seized the opportunity and went for victory.”