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European Championships - 5 Oct 2013

First ever medal for Greece and Russia


Greece and Russia won their first medal at the European Championships in the Men’s Teams Event. Germany and Belarus secured their place in the semi final as well. In the Men’s Championships Division at the LIEBHERR European Championships Germany was the f

Greece and Russia won their first medal at the European Championships in the Men’s Teams Event. Germany and Belarus secured their place in the semi final as well.

In the Men’s Championships Division at the LIEBHERR European Championships Germany was the first team that reached the semi final stage.  Soon after Russia joined them. They will meet tomorrow in the match for the ultimate stage. Belarus beat Croatia and Greece beat Portugal.

Although Kalinikos KREANGA reached the medal rostrum so many times before at the European and World Championships, Greece never had a medal at the Europeans in team’s Event before. And they did it in great style. Greece overcame Portugal.

“Usually we are winning when all three players posted victories, but this time Panagiotis GIONISdid not give a chance to Kalinikos to have a “bite”. GIONIS beat both Joao MONTEIRO and Marcos FREITAS. I am sure Kalinikos will succeeded against Joao but Panagiotis did not give him chance,” explained coach Konstantinos VATSAKLIS smiling.

VATSAKLIS added: ”So many times we were close. So many times I saw weaker teams winning.  This was our ultimate goal, to win team’s medal. We finally succeeded.  We stated our preparations in the mid summer in the hall with 45 C. Our preparation were hit by the crisis, but we stood everything and this is the best reward.” 

Russia also won their first ever medal in Men’s Team at the European Championships. Previously they have won one but as USSR in 1989. “We beat Sweden in very tough match. Especially Par GERELL is dangerous player when he plays for the team. He is very good player and Alexander SHIBAEV had a very hard task, but he played good under pressure,” explained Alexey SMIRNOV.

SMIRNOV overcame Jens LUNDQVIST. ”He played very good today. He surprised me with his backhand. Luckily he stated to make mistakes on receive of the sevice in the decisive game so I succeeded. “

In three matches Germany secured the medal. Even without Timo BOLL defending champions are lethal.  “ I can not see anyone could stop Germany here. There are few teams with quality to make some pressure on them, but I doubt anyone could stop OVTCHAROV and his teammates on the way to another gold,” said expert, former German national team and leader of the coaching team in Werner SCHLAGER Academy, Richard PRAUSE.

Dimitrij OVTCHAROV overcame Emmanuel LEBESSON, Patrick BAUM beat Adrien MATTENT and Patrick FRANZISKA beat Simon GAUZY. “It is easy to play, after OVTCHAROV and BAUM secured 2:0 lead. You can risk and play more relaxed. I won two opening sets with 11:4, I started to rush, to play faster and faster and eventually I allowed Simon to recover. Then I returned to basics, started to play carefully on small things, took good care of service and return and won,” explained FRANZISKA.

Coach Jorg ROSSKOPF said:”Certainly it is not the same now, when we are missing world’s no. five. Without Timo BOLL everything is different. However Dimitrij established himself as a real leader, BAUM I playing in good shape and FRANZISKA proved he is worth our trust.”

Against France Germany showed no weak spots. “Everything went in our favor even before the match. MATTENET and GAUZY already suffered by the hands of BAUM and FRANZISKA, so we were secured on each position.”

In the Challenge Division Italy easily prevailed against Serbia, but Slovakia was stretched to full distance against Slovenia.

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