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Other Events - 8 Feb 2014

MAZE makes miraculous comeback


Yesterday we talked about successful came back of Michael MAZE; today after he beat best ranked European player and world’s no. 6 Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, it becomes amazing cameback and now Dane is only night away from miraculous recovery and title at the DHS

Yesterday we talked about successful came back of Michael MAZE; today after he beat best ranked European player and world’s no. 6 Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, it becomes amazing cameback and now Dane is only night away from miraculous recovery and title at the DHS 2014 Europe Cup. In tomorrow’s final he will meet Marcos FREITAS of Portugal.

In his semi final duel MAZE left no space to OVTCHAROV to try to settle into his rhythm. MAZE changed the pace, moved German player from one side to another and produced fantastic finishes in long rallies. “I did not believe I could get that far. Especially I did not believe I could beat OVTCHAROV. That victory came to early for me. I felt good today I felt the ball well…”

In their previous duel, at the quarterfinal of the Olympic Games, MAZE suffered by the hands of OVTCHAROV. Now he looked like completely different player. “At that time I could not move properly. I lived on painkillers, and I woke every morning with pain. A lot of things happened from that time. Unfortunately I had a lot of free time to study the game of best players. I improved my service game…There are few benefits from the break, but I think that my service down to line is something that made me better player now.”

Adrien MATTENET faced one Portugal’s player too many yesterday. He beat Tiago APOLONIA in quarters, but Marcos FREITAS set a path for first ever title for Portugal at tournaments that gathers best 12 players from Old Continent. FREITAS succeeded in straight games.

”I knew very well Adrien MATTENET. We played and practiced together. However it has been a year since we worked together so I was little bit anxious before the game. I wondered what he had changed in his tactics. He opened the match well, put some pressure on me, made a risk and gives me hard time. I stood his challenge and after 2:0 I was in the driving seat. It is different situation when you have such advantage on your account. I was focused,” explained FREITAS.

FREITAS is the only unbeaten player at the tournament so far. “I hope it will stay that way.”

His performance looked even more impressive then at the opening day. “ You can not compare today’s matches to yesterday’s duels. Best of 5 and best of 7 games are totally different, not to mention different profile of the players. Yesterday, I was aware that my opportunity to get second chance is narrowed. Unlike today’s matches, when you have space to correct mistakes.”

The twist of fate made us watch the duel between top favorites much earlier then the seeding predicted. All’ German clash between top seeded Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and second seed Timo BOLL, finished in favor of younger player, but for sure this quarterfinal match worthy deserved the title “final before the final”. The clash went full distance; at 3:2 BOLL saved one match point; at 3:3 four further…in fantastic exchanges of rallies. ”I could finish the match in fifth game. At 8:8 I was active in game, but I missed two balls that normally I should not. Then I faced same situation in sixth game, on match ball…I managed to convert the fourth match ball in decisive game, but only by playing point for point, not thinking about the result.”

Fresh in role of father, Timo BOLL was calm after the defeat. “After my injury and illness, I have to be patient with my come back. It takes time. Still there are small things that I have to tune up; like service game today against OVTCHAROV. That was the fine line that made a difference today.”

Adrien MATTENET beat Tiago APOLONIA. “Against Tiago APOLONIA I faced difficulties at the beginning of the match, but I managed to improve my service game. I served the ball close to the net and that created difficulties for Tiago. In addition it gave me further confidence to be more creative with my backhand.”

Marcos FREITAS beat Alexey SMIRNOV of Russia yesterday and beat MAZE in five games. “I did not know what to expect against MAZE. I played against him seven years ago and I had no idea how he will play after the break. I won two opening sets easily, then he played much better and in fifth game I mange to won in something what was very open game.”

Against SHIBAEV, FREITAS showed no weak points. “I played long time ago against SHIBAEV. I knew he have very difficult service play for lefthanders, but I was confident with my game.”

The duel between MAZE and Panagiotis GIONIS also attracted great attention. However injured Greek player failed to produce the kind of game that brought him to the medal rostrum at the European Championships. “I played three sets really good, but then Panagiotis raised his game. I had to get back because in case of longer match, I will be too tired to beat him,” addmited MAZE.

GIONIS was in bad shape after the duel: “My injury took its toll. We were discussing should I play here at all, but eventually I decided to come, since it will be my premiere at DHS Europe Cup.  I won top place in the group yesterday, but today it was hard to overcame MAZE. He played very vise, changed his rhythm from strong to soft balls and send me out of game. With my injury I was powerless.”

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Milica NIKOLIC, EWT

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