Portugal won the thriller against Sweden to reach the finalPhoto: Rémy Gros
Liebherr European Championships
After 3,5 hours of fierce battle Portugal overcame Sweden to reach the final of the LIEBHERR European Championships in Nantes. In five matches Portugal’s Tiago APOLONIA recorded two wins, whilst Marcos FREITAS added another one to launch Europeans champions from 2014 into another final.
Jon PERSSON faced the best ranked player once again in Nantes and once again he concluded the duel unbeaten. This time Marcos FREITAS, who is ranked at the position no. 10, suffered by the hands of Europe’s no. 28 (5-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 4-11).
“His service game was very good. He played very good here and I did not have many options in that match,” said FRAITAS.
After PERSSON upset the ranking order, the next player to suffer against lower ranked opposition was Mattias FALCK who currently occupies position no. 2 at the Continent. Silver medalists from the World Championships in Halmstad, faced Tiago APOLONIA, listed at the position no. 32. (7-11, 11-1, 11-4, 4-11, 12-10). The match had so many turns after relatively close opening game which went on APOLONIA’s account. Mattias won second and third after leading 7-0 in both games. In fourth game the pendulum swung and he was 7-1 in reverse. The match entered decisive game and at 9-8 lead, Mattias made mistake that cost him a match.
“I lost to Mattias 0-4 last time we played against each other, so I was well prepared. Generally, I play very good here,” said APOLONIA,
Joao MONTEIRO and Truls MOREGARD played close match that ended in four games (8-11, 10-12, 12-10, 8-11) in favor of Swede. MOREGARD had chance to finish the match in the straight games; he had match ball at 10-8 in third game, but MONTEIRO had better plan. His fantastic service gave him space to seal that part of the match 12-10. Eventually it was not sufficient to make dramatic change on the final outcome.
“His service was perfect. I struggled and at this level of Event I had to pay a high price,” said MONTEIRO.
For a few moments it looked like Kristian KARLSSON will enter the arena, because he was warming up during the MOREGARD’s match, but it was FALCK who faced FREITAS (11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7). He beat him and the duel moved to decisive match in which APOLONIA overcame PERSSON (8-11, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8, 11-7).
“PERSSON controlled the game against FRAITAS thanks to his service game. I was under save pressure too. I had to fight hard for my way to beat him,” stated APOLONIA.