KOJIC secures the 2016 title, PETEK celebrates dual victory
Croatian National Championships
Frane KOJIĆ is the new Croatian champion. The title at the National Championship played in Varaždin comes as a culmination of his great form in the recent months. After beating Filip ZELJKO in the semifinals in a tight match that ended 4:3, in the finals he outplayed Tomislav PUCAR with a seemingly easy 4:0 which earned him his first title as the National champion.
Andrej GAĆINA, who dominated the National Championship for the past seven years, missed the tournament due to ITTF's Super series tournament in Kuwait. Further on, the hard work of TTC Zagreb (GSTK Zagreb) paid off and they had six of their current or former players compete in the quarterfinals of the tournament while the semifinals was completely dominated by their players.
In the men’s doubles category, Tomislav PUCAR and Filip ZELJKO managed to defend their last year title after beating Frane KOJIĆ and Filip ČIPIN in the finals with 3:1.
„Considering the absence of GAĆINA, this was a huge opportunity for us, the younger players, and I took advantage of it. I have been playing really well in the past three months, and all the efforts and hard work that I invested while playing in Germany started to bear fruit“, said KOJIĆ.”This was the tenth time I played with ZELJKO this season, we know each other really well. The final match with PUCAR seemed like a breeze, but there is more to it. Especially because he had Neven KARKOVIĆ coaching him, who is my former coach that shaped my table tennis beginnings and knows me to the core. I am really proud of this achievement“.
Regarding the title in doubles that escaped him he commented: „we failed to win the title five years ago and also this year. We have an agreement that we will keep on playing together until we win it. I was surprised how well he played, I didn't see it coming. Basically, I was the weaker link in that final. I am sorry, but there will be more opportunities to win finals in the future.”
Varaždin as the host had plenty of reason to celebrate seeing how the local Petra PETEK managed to secure a dual victory. In the singles category she made an amazing twist; in the semifinals it seemed that Lea RAKOVAC was heading towards a safe victory by leading 3:1, but PETEK managed to turn it around. The final was much less nerve-racking for Petek's supporters, she managed to secure a swift win against Ivana TUBIKANEC with 4:0. Then she topped it off with a win in the doubles category. For the past four years Mirela ĐURAK and Mateja JEGER held the title, but this year they were stopped in semifinals by Andrea PAVLOVIĆ and Ema MAN (3:2). The pair currently holding the European champion title in the category of Cadet Girls Doubles was defeated in the semifinals by Klara CAKOL and Dorina SREBRNJAK (3:2). Coming from the other end of the draw, Petek and Poljak defeated Ivana Tubikanec and Paula MARKATI with 3:0 in the semifinals and repeated the same result against CAKOL and SREBRNJAK in the finals.
PETEK commented: „The seminfinals was my most challenging match, after I got through it, I was much more confident in the finals. “
She has been in great form leading up to the tournament, at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur she managed to win all five matches she played.
„The performance in Kuala Lumpur boosted my confidence. Last year at the National Championship I lost from Ivana and this year the tables have turned“, said Petra.
Playing in Varaždin was added motivation that led her to the title.
„I always wished for the National Championship to be played in Varaždin. I want to thank everyone who came to support me, I managed to pay them back by winning in both categories“, concluded Petra.
Semifinals: Pucar – Maglić 4:1 (9, 4, 6, -7, 7), F. Zeljko – Kojić 3:4 (-7, 5, 9, -4, -10, 7, -4); Finals: Pucar – Kojić 0:4 (-10, -5, -8, -11)
Semifinals: Pucar/F. Zeljko – Simović/Zubčić 3:2 (3, 12, -11, -5, 9), Ređep/Japec – Čipin/Kojić 0:3 (-6, -13, -7); Finals: Pucar/F. Zeljko – Čipin/Kojić 3:1 (8, 9, -9, 7)
Semifinals: Rakovac – Petek 3:4 (-9, 8, 8, 9, -6, -8, -7), Srebrnjak – Tubikanec 2:4 (-9, -6, 9, 8, -6, -6); Finals: Petek – Tubikanec 4:0 (5, 8, 9, 9)
Semifinals: Tubikanec/Markati – Petek/Poljak 0:3 (-5, -6, -9), Pavlović/Marn – Srebrnjak/Cakol 2:3 (10, -8, -7, 8, -9); Finals:Petek/Poljak - Srebrnjak/Cakol 3:0 (8, 9, 7)