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Other Events - 6 Feb 2015

OVTCHAROV and FREITAS on winning path


Few upsets also re-arranged the look of the standings at the Men’s Singles Event at the 2015 NN Table Tennis Club ITTF – Europe Top 16 on the opening day of the competition in Baku. However, it was not the case with the main contenders for the crown

Few upsets also re-arranged the look of the standings at the Men’s Singles Event at the 2015 NN Table Tennis Club ITTF – Europe Top 16 on the opening day of the competition in Baku. However, it was not the case with the main contenders for the crown. Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and Marcos FREITAS, both won their matches today.

Top seeded, OVTCHAROV overcame Simon GAUZY of France in the opening round. He needed four games to overcame Simon and one less to beat Andrei GACINA.

Joao MONTEIRO of Portugal was in charge for the first upset of the day in Men’s Event. The member of European champions team beat Greek Panagiotis GIONIS in four games (5:11, 11:7, 11:7, 13:11).
“It is not that big surprise. GIONIS beat me last time at the European Championships in Austria, but I have better overall record against him. Panagiotis started better today. He had better feeling for the ball, but things changed. The crucial moment was second game. After I won it was turning point,” said MONTEIRO.

Later, GIONIS returned to the table in full gear. Greek player sealed the day with the victory over Vladimir SAMSONOV. “Now I feel much better. I needed one good win,” stated GIONIS.”Good start was very important in my match against SAMSONOV. That gave me burst and confidence. Vladi looked confused, I guess he did not expect it, but it also seamed he was not on top of his game.”

Reigning champion Marcos FREITAS of Portugal prevailed against Adrien MATTENET of France, but in the same group another favorite suffered. Steffen MENGEL of Germany lost against Kristian KARLSSON of Sweden. Swede is currently ranked at the position no. 39, whilst player from Germany occupies position no. 25 at the World Rankings. “Matches like this works little bit more in our favor. Lower ranked player had a slightly bigger chance in best of 5 duels. In best of 7 games favorites are in better position,” explained KARLSSON.

MENGEL served good, but Kristian found the way to put him under pressure. “I moved very well and I received the service well. That was the crucial moment.”

Marcos FREITAS justified his position in Baku by overcoming MENGEL in straight games in second Round, to conclude the first day unbeaten. Par GERELL stayed on winning tracks for Sweden. He beat Andrej GACINA of Croatia in the opening round. “My service game is usually better then Andrej’s, but today, my game was at highest level as well. I am very satisfied with my performance. The moment that proves as very important today was my recovery after 3:9 in the opening game. After that I became more confident, whilst it had reverse effect on GACINA,” stated GERELL.

Tiago APOLONIA of Portugal overcame Paul DRINKHALL in straight games but in very close match (11:6, 11:8, 11:9). “Every game was close. It was not easy. We have not played against each other since Olympic qualifications in 2012. He improved his game…so as anyone here. There will be no easy games and opponents here in Baku,” stated APOLONIA.

It proved correct. In the evening Robert GARDOS beat APOLONIA after fierce battle in five games.
Vladimir SAMSONOV of Belarus needed four games against Bastian STEGER of Germany to conclude first round duel. “I started well, but after second game Bastian changed his tactics. I decided to stay at the same tracks, had not changed anything and it was good decision. He won third game, before he run out of luck in forth. At 10:10, I had two lucky balls. It could be easily 2:2,” said SAMSONOV.

Milica NIKOLIC, EWT.

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