OVTCHAROV still reigningPhoto: Rita TABORDA
2016 ITTF Europe TOP 16 in Gondomar
Number one seed, reigning champion and best ranked European player, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany defended his crown at the 2016 ITTF Europe TOP 16 in Gondomar. OVTCHAROV underlined its prowess in the final of the Men’s Event, by beating Joao MONTEIRO of Portugal 2:4 ( 6-11,5-11,8-11,11-8,13-11,7-11).
Defeat in the first stage against MONTEIRO but then success in the final; that was the order of proceedings this weekend in Portugal for the player who won all major titles in Europe last year.
OVTCHAROV showed no mercy from the very beginning of the match. He has not eased his iron grip, until the fourth game. At that point MONTEIRO raised the level of play, he got the bust from the fans at the stands and in the fierce fight for each point, in close finish sealed the game.
Fifth game commenced in favor of host nation hero. He had advantage 5:2, but OVTCHAROV leveled at 5 all. German player was first to reach the match ball at 10:8, but eventually, in exchange of extremely powerful rallies far from the table, MONTEIRO sealed the game at 13:11.
With 6:1 and 8:4 in his pocket OVTCHAROV was heading toward another victory in sixth game.
“You can not compare the group stage match to the final. Three days ago I was already booked my place in the quarterfinal, and today we played for the title. However, I have to admit Joao surprised me in the group stage. He played very well. I study the reason for my defeat and I was well prepared today,” explained OVTCHAROV.
Until the fourth game OVTCHAROV held complete control.
“In fourth game I struggled to make two points cushion which I need for the safe finish of the match. He won some great relies, but I believe in my victory at every point.”
Alexander SHIBAEV of Russia beat Kristian KARLSSON of Sweden in the match for the third position – 4:1 (12-10,11-2,14-12,3-11,11-5). Vladimir SAMSONOV of Belarus beat Stefan FEGERL of Austria to secure fifth position - 4:1 (7-11,11-4,11-9,11-5,13-11). Seventh is Tiago APOLONIA of Portugal who beat Bastian STEGER of Germany 2:4 (9-11,11-7,11-9,7-11,7-11,10-12).
The Top 16 is a qualification event for the World Cup.