Austria halted title defenders in the quartersPhoto: Elena ELISEEVA
Portugal lost against five matches thriller
After spirited performance of the Austrian team, reigning champions, team of Portugal concluded their journey at the 2015 LIEBHERR ITTF European Champions one step away from the medal rostrum. For a first time after 2011 Austria is in semis but this time without Werner SCHLAGER, CHEN Weixing ...however they managed to secure the medal with still lethal Robert GARDOS.
They will meet Belarus in the semi final of the Men’s Teams Event whilst Germany will meet France.
“We were little bit tired after yesterday’s late match against Russia. That is why I was not very confident before the start of my match against Tiago APOLONIA. It was very close game, I was even little bit lucky at the end. After you succeed in such duel it give you extra power. I won lost match and that made more relaxed before I played against Marcos FREITAS”.
Robert already beat FREITAS, but Marcos proved to strong for Stefan FEGERL in the opening duel. Still, Stefen scored in the decisive one against Tiago APOLONIA.
“I am very happy for this result. It is our first semi final after 2009 and 2011, and then it was Werner SCHLAGER, CHEN Weixing and Robert as main players in the team. We wished Belarus in the quarters more then Portugal at least. Now we beat Portugal, we will meet Belarus and who knows now we can hope for gold.”
Germany overcame Greece on their way to the medal rostrum. Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, Patrick BAUM and Patrick FRANZISKA prevailed in straight matches against Panagiotis GIONIS, Kalinikos KREANGA and Konstantinos PAPAGIORGIU.
“This victory does not make big difference. My thoughts are the same like they were before the game. It is nice to secure the medal, but we are here after gold. Gionis PANAGIOTIS won opening game against Dimitrij OVTCHAROV but it did not make big impact on Dima’s game after. In addition Patrick FRANZISKA was 7:9 down in opening game before he beat Kalinikos KREANGA in straight games. After 2:0 for Germany I was not under pressure, so it was easer for me to beat Konstantinos PAPAGEORGIU,” explained BAUM.
In the semi final they will meet France. The memories from European Games in Baku are still fresh and they are not so pleasant.
“Yes it brings back the memories, when there were only two of us left in the field. I beat Simon Gauzy 3:2, after OVTCHAROV beat MATTENET and before he lost against LEBESSON,” reflected BAUM. ”They have very good team. Here in Russia even without MATTENET they are very dangerous.”
France prevailed against Sweden and Simon GAUZY was the player who secured two points in 3:1 victory.
“I beat Par GERELL recently at the Top 16 in Baku and we meet once, three or four years ago. In both occasions I have won. I was aware how dangerous is his service game. He is one of the best in that part, but I managed to impose my rhythm. From the beginning I was in the lead. The key of this match was in the return game,” explained Simon GAUZY.
On his second appearance in the court Simon overcame Kristian KARLSSON in straight games.
“It was easier match for me then the one against GERELL. I knew his game too. We meet four years ago and I have won. Now I knew how to put him under pressure. Still, it was not easy. I was 5:10 down in the second game and eventually won that set 15:13.”
Emmanuel LEBESSON beat Kristian KARLSSON in straight games.
“After 2:0 in games I was 10:8 up. I lost two set balls because of service. I did not change anything previously; KARLSSON read my service game and changed tactics. He attacked me on forehand, close the game. In the finish of the third game which ended 20:18, I was better in the games of will,” said LEBESSON.
Recently France won the silver medal at the European Games in Baku.
“We justified that result now. It did not happened by accident. Less then a year before the start of the Olympic Games this is outcome that makes us all happy.”
Poland made it to the best eight, but in the battle for the medal, experience prevailed. Belarus booked their place in the semis. The instrumental in their success was once again Vladimir SAMSONOV. He won two matches, whilst Evgueni CHTCHETININE joined him for a crucial third point.
SAMSONOV overcame Jakub DYJAS and Daniel GORAK.
“I had a very bad start at this tournament. Against Croatia I lost two matches and if someone asked me after that what will be tomorrow, hardly that I will think about the medal. I also faced match ball against Greece…However today everything looks better. DYJAK is for sure very talented player; very dangerous and aggressive. Same stands for GORAK. They really deserved the place in knock out phase at the Championships.”
At 2:2 the man who brought victory was CHTCHETININE.
“I have no choice. Vladi told me I have to win,” joked Evgueni. “DYJAS is very good and talented player, but in this situation experience was crucial. It was fifth match in the duel for the medal at the European Championships. For us it is maybe tenth time that we are in this position, for young player it is great burden.”