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Europe Top-16 Cup - 6 Feb 2016

OVTCHAROV will meet Kristian KARLSSON

Photo: Rita TABORDA

ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in Gondomar


In the semi final of the Men’s Event at the ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in Gondomar top seeded Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany will meet Kristian KARLSSON of Sweden whilst Joao MONTEIRO of Portugal will play against Aleksander SHIBAEV of Russia. That is the outcome of the thrilling quarterfinal duels played today in Multiusos de Gondomar Coração de Ouro.


Reigning champion, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany reached the penultimate stage without facing great difficulties. After extremely powerfully performance he beat Tiago APOLONIA of Portugal 0:4 (6-11,7-11,9-11,2-11).


“I showed brilliant performance today. I surprised Tiago with the force,” explained OVTCHAROV. “In addition, I regret nothing regarding yesterday’s play. I recorded two straight games victories against GIONIS. Three matches at such high level are very demanding.”


So far Dimitrij’s record against Tiago is very impressive. In 20 matches, APOLONIA managed to score only three times.


“I am not sure about the exact figures, but I remember few very close duels. At the German Open two years ago and in Champions league just recently.”


Speaking about Kristian KARLSSON, OVTCHAROV said.


“In past three years he improved his game very much. I watched him beating SAMSONOV; he overcame FREITAS. Simply, he is the player who is very dangerous. On the other side, he is not consistent and that might help me.”


Unlike their last, full distance close encounter, at the group stage of the European Championships Teams Event in Ekaterinburg in October 2015, in Portugal, Kristian KARLSSON beat Austria’s Stefan FEGERL little bit easier. In the quarterfinal Swede succeeded in five games, but faced few rough moments 4:1 (11-8,10-12,11-6,11-9,11-4).


In the second game he was 10:7 up, but FEGERL saved three game balls and nailed that set at 10:12.


“At 10:7, Stefan hit one really good ball, then he changed his service. I did not respond well and I lost the game,” explained KARLSSON.


Once again in the fourth set, Kristian was in the lead 10:5. Stefan came close at 10:7.


“I called from time out at that point. Unfortunately, it did not paid off instantly. Stefan reached 10:9 before I finally managed to stop him,” added KARLSSON.


Alexander SHIBAEV of Russia was stretched to full distance against Bastian STEGER of Germany 4:3 (11-7,8-11,13-15,11-7,11-9,9-11,11-6).


“There were no secrets for me. I am familiar with STEGER’s style of play and I was sure it is going to be long match. The most important thing was to maintain the focus during the match,” said SHIBAEV.


Joao MONTEIRO reached the semis in great style. In straight games he beat Vladimir SAMSONOV of Belarus (11-6,11-9,11-7,15-13).


“I played several time against Vladi. I was aware what I have to do. I beat him once but lost 4 or five times. However, I was doing the same I was doing yesterday in all three matches. I started aggressive from the very first point,” said MONTEIRO.


After good start, MONTEIRO was under pressure in the second game. SAMSONOV recovered after 5:2 and lead the game into the close finish. MONTEIRO prevailed.


“I was in the similar situation in the fourth game. SAMSONOV played very good, but I leveled, I save some game balls, he saved match ball, but in the finis I was better.”


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