Top seeds PISTEJ and BALAZOVA in semis of the Mixed DoublesPhoto: Rémy Gros
European Games 2019 in Minsk
Top seeded pairings in Mixed Doubles Event at the European Games 2018 in Minsk Slovakia’s Lubomir PISTEJ and Barbora BALAZOVA overcame Spain’s Alvaro ROBLES and Galia DVORAK (11-7, 14-12, 11-5) on their way to the semi final.
“We played last year against them in Australia and then it was much harder. However, their game is not very dangerous to us. It was much harder for them to play against us,” said PISTEJ.
BALAZOVA added that they play together for almost a decade.
“We know each other very well. We had some breaks due the injuries, but still we work well together. We have two medals from European Championships and quarterfinal tat he World Championships this year. Our goal is to get medal here. Then we will think about ultimate goal- place at the 2020 Olympics,” said BALAZOVA.
Italy’s Niaglo STOYANOV and Giorgia PICCOLIN suffered by the hands of Germany’s Patrick FRANZISKA and Petrissa SOLJA (2-11, 4-11, 6-11). German pairings will meet Slovakia’s doubles in semis.
“Everyone told us it is going to be much easier match against Italians that the one from yesterday against FALCK and EKHOLM, but I was on alert. We did not want to let anything by chance. At the end everything was fine. All segments of the game worked fine,” said SOLJA.
FRANZISKA added:” We were focused. I can not remember that even one stroke was wasted.”
About forthcoming match SOLJA commented: ”BALAZOVA spent a lot of time at the trainings in the Dusseldorf, we know her. For sure it will not be easy match.”
Romania’s Ovidiu IONESCU and Bernadette SZOCS are also long time together and that spirit helped them in straight games victory over Russia’s Aleksandr SHIBAEV and Polina MIKHAILOVA (11-3, 11-7, 11-8). Romania’s pairings also have two medals at the European Championships in Mixed Doubles.
“They beat us recently at the Hungarian Open, so we learnt from that experience. Polina is very dangerous player, but we managed to impose our tactic. Our team spirit prevailed,” said IONESCU.
SOCS is never lack of positive energy.
“We lost against them in Hungary after being 2:0 up. Our mistakes drew us into the defeat. Now we were prepared,” said SZOCS.
In the semi final they will meet Tristan FLORE and Laura GASNIER of France. French pairings overcame host nations favorites Pavel PLATONOV and Nadezhda BOGDANOVA (11-4, 7-11, 11-6, 12-14, 11-4).
“We started really good, everything went smooth until the second game. Then they started to block us very good, they pushed the balls deep and kept us far from table. We regain the control in third game, before once again they rose their game. In the decisive one Laura was the player in charge. She brought us here,” said FLORE.
GASNIER kept her nerve in the fifth game, but admitted the tension was very high.
“I managed to be near the table, but the balls BOGDANOVA was playing were very difficult for me. PLATONOV tried to slow the game in order to regain the control. I maintained focus, despite great tension in the match,” said GASNIER.