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Champions League Men - 26 Apr 2013

Orenburg clinched new title by four points


Russian Fakel Gazproma Orenburg reached its second Men’s European Champions League title in a row, despite they lost from Chartres ASTT 3:1 on its soil in the rematch of the 2012/13 final. Over 4,500 spectators witnessed maybe most exciting MECL final eve

Russian Fakel Gazproma Orenburg reached its second Men’s European Champions League title in a row, despite they lost from Chartres ASTT 3:1 on its soil in the rematch of the 2012/13 final. Over 4,500 spectators witnessed maybe most exciting MECL final ever and table tennis again showed its lovely characteristic – unpredictability!

After 3:1 (10:7 in sets) away win in first game, Russian champion was 99 % favorite, but in the rematch they clinched new MECL crown by a narrow margin, losing 3:1 (9:6). After all, Orenburg was just two points ahead of Chartres – 315:311.

Despite all bad predictions for Chartres, guests moved their self very close to their first MECL title. Everything looked like last year’s semis, when Orenburg won away clash 3:2 but lost first two individual games in the returning leg. Alexey SMIRNOV was the salvor that time and he again showed his big importance for the Fakel Gazproma.

In opening match Robert GARDOS defeated Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, the hero of the first leg. Austrian did it in four games, making first of two decisive steps in late third set. German had four consecutive set balls, but despite his famous serve, guest returned very well to came from 13:14 to 16:14. In next set Austrian was faced with new set balls of his rival (8:10) but took four in a row (12:10) bringing first point to Chartres.

GAO Ning again beat Vladimir SAMSONOV, this time in five sets. Great Byelorussian, who reached his record 10th European title, missed two match balls (10:8) in fourth set.

As always on 3rd table, former Euro Top-12 winner Alexey SMIRNOV did his job successfully, although he was under enormous pressure. He easily beat Swede Par GERELL.

The situation was clear and exciting before game no. 4 – OVTCHAROV needed one set to bring the title to the host, while GAO must won 3:0 but keeping long distance from the host in the same time. Before that clash Russian side was 15 points ahead.

Singaporean led 6:2 in third set, but German managed to collect enough points for his team.

Fakel Gazproma Orenburg – Chartres ASTT 1:3 (6:9)
Dimitrij OVTCHAROV – Robert GARDOS 1:3 (10:12, 11:5, 14:16, 10:12)
Vladimir SAMSONOV – GAO Ning 2:3 (9:11, 11:9, 11:6, 10:12, 7:11)
Alexey SMIRNOV – Par GERELL 3:0 (11:8, 11:7, 11:7)
Dimitrij OVTCHAROV – GAO Ning 0:3 (7:11, 7:11, 6:11)

CHARTRES FROM GROUP TO THE FINAL (7-2 SCORE):

Group B
Chartres – El Nino 3:0 3:0
Chartres – Ochsenhausen 3:2 3:1
Quarter final
Chartres – Saarbrucken 3:2 3:1
Semi final
Chartres – Borusia 3:1 (11:5) 1:3 (5:9)
Final
Chartres – Orenburg 1:3 (7:10), …..

ORENBURG FROM GROUP TO THE FINAL (9-0 SCORE)
Group A
Orenburg – Saarbrucken 3:1 3:0
Orenburg – Hennebont 3:0 3:1
Quarter final
Orenburg – Ochsenhausen 3:1 3:0
Semi final
Orenburg – Pontoise 3:0 3:2
Final
Orenburg – Chartres 3:1 1:3

Alex MILETIC, EWT

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