SZOCS put OVTCHAROV under pressurePhoto: Rémy Gros ITTF
World Championships finalists in 1997, Vladimir SAMSONOV radiate at the LIEBHERR 2017 World Championships again. He reached the Round of 16 in big style, by beating Panagiotis GIONIS of Greece in straight games (6-11,5-11,7-11,5-11).
“Even I am surprised by the result. I used to play good against the players with defensive style, but it was in nineties. In recent past it is not the case any more, especially against GIONIS. He beat me at the Olympic Qualifications in Sweden, at the European Championships and in club competitions. I really have poor record against GIONIS in recent time. That is why I was very cautious. I played safe and I have to admit I took advantage of few lucky balls. Good thing is, they came in the right moment,” laughed SAMSONOV.
It was all about control.
“He played very safe and he did not made any mistake. I was very tired. Yesterday I had a late and long match against WANG Yang. I was forced to play seven games against defense and it took all my power,” said GIONIS.
Surprisingly, ZHANG Jike of China , World’s no. four is out of the competition. He suffered by the hands of LEE Sangsu of Korea (9-11, 6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 10-12). LEE will meet SAMSONOV in the next round.
“We played twice against each other. I beat him recently in Qatar. For sure, since he beat ZHANG, he is in good shape. It is going to be hard match,” said SAMSONOV.
JEONG Sangeun needed six games to beat Stefan FEGERL (12-10,8-11,11-6,9-11,11-5,11-1), but two Europeans went through the agonizing seven games thriller. Dimitrij OVTCHAROV was stretched to full distance against Hunor SZOCH of Romania (11-2, 13-11, 9-11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-8).
“After second game I thought I am on the right track and I was heading to the straight games victory. However, I become to much passive, Hunor took his chance and put me in difficult position,” said OVTCHAROV.
SZOCH added:”I started bad, but I took my chances after the second game. Unfortunately, in the last two games, OVTCHAROV’s service was at the highest level. He returned into the game completely.”
In next round OVTCHAROV will meet Japan’s Koki NIWA. Koki beat Jonathan GROTH of Denmark (11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 8-11, 1-11).
“Chances are 50-50,” said OVTCHAROV.
Mattias KARLSSON of Sweden lost against WONG Chun Ting of Hong Kong 3-4 (12-10, 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 7-11, 14-12, 3-11).
Another long distance match kept the spectators at the edge of their seats Marcos FREITAS beat Tristan FLORE (11-4, 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10).
“This is table tennis. FLORE knows me very well, we played in the same team for nearly six years, we know each other very well. I started very good from the beginning and especially returned his service good. FLORE didn´t have so many answers. Then I didn´t change anything and Tristan played better and better and I wasn´t really leading in the sets 4 to 6. I had always pressure and was a little bit fighting with myself. In the last game it was fifty-fifty, I fought very good and survived."
He will meet Timo Boll, who overcame JANG Woojin (9-11,11-8,10-12,8-11,5-11).
"It is going to be a difficult game, Boll is a top player, we are both warm and playing good. I just hope to recover tonight. I have beaten him before several times. So I hope to fight for the victory tomorrow."