BOLL and SAMSONOV in the quartersPhoto: Rémy Gros
European Games 2019 Minsk
Seven times European Champion, Timo BOLL needed only four games to overcame Marcos FREITAS of Portugal on his way to the quarterfinal of the Men’s Singles Event at the European Games in Minsk (11-7, 13-11, 11-8, 11-7).
Second game was very important, but BOLL overcame the pressure and secured important victory.
“I am satisfied with the victory. Key to success was the receive. His service game is very dangerous to me, but this time I coped good with it. If I had let him win the second game the match may have much different course,” said BOLL.
Fully crowded Tennis Center in Minsk exploded when Vladimir SAMSONOV secured his place among top eight players today. Russia’s Kirill SKACHKOV could not halt his progress, but he stretched SAMSONOV to the limits (11-8, 4-11, 18-16, 4-11, 7-11, 11-13)
“Similar to yesterday I had a very close game. The third game was long. I had several good chances to win it, but, unfortunately, I lost. It is good that in the next game I came forward from the very beginning. In the last game I lost 5-9, it was 10-10, 11-11 then we had a controversial point where Kirill had questions. It seemed to me that the ball hit the table down, which means my point. In any case, I granted the right to resolve this issue to the umpires. And they gave me a point. I am glad that I won, but I don't like when such situations happen. Kirill is my very good friend and this is not pleasant,” said SAMSONOV.
In the next round he will meet no. one seed.
“In the past few years, Timo BOLL has played great, he is again at the top. I hope, that the audience will help me tomorrow.”
Tomislav PUCAR of Croatia overcame Panagiotis GIONIS of Greece (8-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9).
“At 1:1 and 9:5 in third game I was already see myself as a winner. So many times it worked against me and this was the case again. However, I managed to learn from my mistakes and after I lost that game, I did not lose my head. I stayed calm and keep on playing. I overcame situations where GIONIS was few time in lead. I did not crack under pressure. In Fulda I played against defense and finally it paid of. Two years ago I lost against GIONIS 4:0, now I beat him,” explained PUCAR.
Dane Jonathan GROTH created a top rated upset by beating the winner of the European Games 2015 edition and the no. two seed Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany. He prevailed in four straight games (7-11, 7-11, 9-11, 9-11).
“I started very good and I gained an early control over the match. In the opening game it was 9:3 for me; I called for the time out after he narrowed the gap at 9:7. Luckily it was good decision, so I won the opening game. In the third game, I was in the trouble again, but I could not let him recover. If I gave him chance it could be fatal. This is the win of my career,” said GROTH.
OVTCHAROV was clearly disappointed after the match.
“He started well. I never managed to settle in to the rhythm throughout whole match. I came here to win, but this time he was better player,” said OVTCHAROV.
Asked about his next adversary, GROTH said: ”I do not know. When you see Dimitrij OVTCHAROV in your part of the draw you do not look further.”
He learned WANG Yang of Slovakia will be next in line.
“I played close matches against him so far, so I did not expect nothing easier this time. He played very good at the World Championships this year.
WANG Yang overcame Slovenia’s Bojan TOKIC (7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8). He reached Round of 16 this year at the World Championships.
Swede Kristian KARLSSON suffered by the hands of Emmanuel LEBESSON of France (6-11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 14-12, 5:11).
“I took a good start, had good backhand. That was important because when such players like KARLSSON make a lead it is hard to catch them. Even with 2:0 I was not safe. I had all the time in the back of my mind that he is capable of making comeback. He is great fighter, one of the best players in Europe and in the World. In fifth game I had a match ball, but did not lose my spirit after match went to the sixth game,” said LEBESSON.
In the quarterfinal he will meet Tomislav PUCAR of Croatia.
“He had incredible season; reached Round of 16 at the World Championships and played every time in the Main Draw of pro tournaments. It will be3 difficult match.”
KOU Lei of Ukraine overcame Russia’s Aleksandr SHIBAEV (11-9, 11-4, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9).
“The receive was the key. I was good in that part and it gave me opportunity to play backhand on backhand game. No one feels ball well here, and it is important to get every one to the table,” said KOU.