Dimitrij OVTCHAROV wins Europe Top 16 title againPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
The 2017 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in Antibes, France
Dimitrij OVTCHAROV has been crowned the Men’s Singles champion at the 2017 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in Antibes, France following his 4-2 victory over Alexander SHIBAEV in the final on Sunday 5th February.
Germany’s OVTCHAROV, who has now won the trophy on four occasions (2012, 2015, 2016, 2017) and for the third year in a row at the tournament, had a strong level of support from the crowd. After six games against his Russian opponent SHIBAEV the top seed sealed his place on the top step of the podium.
The opening of the match was hotly contested by both finalists and OVTCHAROV knew that he was in for a challenge as SHIBAEV had set a personal best record at the tournament by reaching the final in Antibes and improving on his third place finish achieved in Gondomar, Portugal in 2016.
Neither player could be separated after the opening four games but then OVTCHAROV began to find his rhythm and managed to claim the fifth game by a three point margin.
Then it looked difficult for SHIBAEV to get himself back into the match after OVTCHAROV raced into a comfortable lead in game six. But then the Russian representative managed to claw his way back to a two point difference and suddenly it was OVTCHAROV who was the player under pressure.
However, OVTCHAROV survived and the title was in his hands once again (11-8, 12-14, 11-5, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8).
With OVTCHAROV and SHIBAEV finishing in the top two they will receive an invitation to the Liebherr 2017 Men’s World Cup set to be hosted in Liege, Belgium in October.
Another player set to gain an invitation is Frenchman Simon GAUZY, who captured the hearts of the home fans in Antibes throughout the 2017 Europe Top 16. GAUZY’s victory over KOU Lei in the third place match saw him make the podium.
“I am really happy to have performed quite well in Antibes and it means a lot to me to play in front of my family, my friends and in front of this great crowd so I’m really happy that I could do this here” Simon GAUZY.