GAO halted, Chartres in the dead of night
Fakel Gazproma Orenburg is very close to its second consecutive Men`s European Champions League title after 3:1 away victory against Chartres ASTT. The man of the match was 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Dimitrij OVTCHAROV who brought two points, giving a v
Fakel Gazproma Orenburg is very close to its second consecutive Men`s European Champions League title after 3:1 away victory against Chartres ASTT. The man of the match was 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Dimitrij OVTCHAROV who brought two points, giving a very first loss in 2012/13 to GAO Ning. Now, Orenburg expects returning leg (April 26th, 12h20) with 3-0 score against French champion, beating them twice 3:2 in 2011/12 semis.
Vladimir SAMSONOV had a furious start against GAO in opening game, allowing Singaporean just three points in first set. But, host answered in superb style. The key moment was seen in the second set when host came from 5:8 to 11:8. These six consecutive points totally changed direction of the match and GAO had unexpectedly easy job in the rest of the clash. He beat twice 3:2 Byelorussian in last season`s semi final.
Par GERELL showed last year that he has capacity to be very close to Dima OVTCHAROV, even beating him once, in returning game at Orenburg. He played good tonight too, starting by 5:1 to won without any pressure opening set. But, German has controlled the play in next two sets by good serve and super speed in long rallies. In last, fourth set Swede led 8:6 and 9:8, but it wasn`t enough.
Alexey SMIRNOV saved Orenburg in last year`s semi final rematch, beating Robert GARDOS in third match. Now, the stake was not so high, but Russian again was better than Austrian. This time in four sets (last year twice 3:2). Host had a nice chance for 2:0 lead in sets (11:10, 12:11). When he attacked on 12:11 it looked like guest has no chance, but SMIRNOV somehow showed an amazing response. In third period former Euro Top 12 winner turned from 4:7 to 10:7 however needing five set balls to conclude that set.
Finally, everyone wanted to see will GAO Ning stay unbeaten playing against 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Dima OVTCHAROV or not. Singaporean improved his 2012/13 score on 10-0 after opening clash with SAMSONOV, having now in front of him the man who beat him twice last season. And, history has repeated again: German won thanks to his super strong nerves, fantastic serve and fascinating reaction in almost each long rally. Many times German took the points from no way situation. The late third set was decisive one when guest answered by five points in a row on GAO`s 9:6 lead.
Chartres ASTT – Fakel Gazproma Orenburg 1:3 (7:10)
GAO Ning – Vladimir SAMSONOV 3:1 (4:11, 11:8, 11:5, 11:4)
Par GERELL – Dimitrij OVTCHAROV 1:3 (11:8, 5:11, 7:11, 12:14)
Robert GARDOS – Alexey SMIRNOV 1:3 (11:8, 12:14, 11:13, 7:11)
GAO Ning – Dimitrij OVTCHAROV 2:3 (13:11, 9:11, 9:11, 11:8, 8:11)