Vladimir SAMSONOV moves closer to a medalPhoto: ITTF
2016 Rio Olympic Games
Vladimir SAMSONOV will feel the heat of the battle for medal at the Olympic Games. Quarterfinalist in Atlanta 1996 and Sydney four years later, this time, went one step further. In the quarterfinal of the Men's Singles Event at the 2016 Olympic Games, Belarus star beat Germany's Dimitrij OVTCHAROV 4:2 (8-11, 11-7, 19-17, 4-11, 11-2, 14-12).
“It was a really strange match after my injury,” said SAMSONOV. "I couldn’t play hard forehand topspin, so I had to change something, tactically I had to play a bit slower, and more passively. We have known each other for so long, we are in the same club, we are friends and it’s not easy playing injured friend, he struggled.”
In the semi final he will meet China's ZHANG Jike.
“I’m getting closer to a medal, but the players I’m going to face are very strong, and I will have to see how badly injured I really am. I need to go to the hospital. I have problems with my ribs several times for the past six years. I really hope it’s not bad.”
In the second game he lost his footing when trying to execute a forehand top spin with the score at 7-4 in his favour. He finished sitting on the floor; he lost the next point and asked for a break owing to pain in his right side.
Bronze medalist from London 2012, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV said:
“SAMSONOV and I play for the same club, we know each other very well. and of course we know the skills and weaknesses of each other very well. It was a tough match from the beginning.”
Gold medalist in London China’s ZHANG Jike booked his place in the semi-finals; the no.3 seed, he accounted for Japan’s Koki NIWA, the no.17 seed, in five games (5-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4). Jun MIZUTANI of Japan beat Marcos FREITAS of Portugal (4-11k, 11-9, 3-11, 8-11, 12-10).