Pécs is the champion after a final full of twists in HungaryPhoto: Szilvi Hoffer
PTE-PEAC, the winner of the long-memorable final, became the champion of the men's Extraliga, defeating the big rival Celldömölk by 4:3 in the final duel of the Final Four in Budapest. The bronze medal was won by Szécsény.
“It is going to be for sure a fierce battle with great excitement, and it is going to release big emotions as well. I am convinced that this final will be fantastic” said Roland NÁTRÁN before the men's final, and the prophet spoke from the President of the Hungarian Table Tennis Association.
Sometimes it was Pécs, the other time it was Celldömölk that was closer to the victory, and a small number of enthusiastic spectators, due the restrictions, could witness four matches that were decided in the decisive game. Márton SZITA turned the game by answering effectively to several match balls in the match against Demeter LEHEL, and Péter FAZEKAS, who was excellent during the entire Final Four, also defeated Zsolt PETŐ; the team from Vas county led by 3:2, so it seemed like PEACE will have consolation in silver for the fifth time in six years.
Morelikly, because the upcoming GEROLD vs. SZITA match, based on their former clashes, were more likely to be won by SZITA. This time, however, the experience triumphed and GEROLD fought the seventh match with a relaxed game.
“I have already beaten him, but he usually wins our matches against each other” explained GÁBOR Gerold, who kept the hopes of Pécs alive after his victory against Szita. “I felt like he was not so focused, and he maybe also got anxious because of the opportunity of finshing the final battle.”
The all-deciding clash was fought by Demeter and Dániel Kriston, and although the player from Celldömölk took the first game with a great start, Demeter was able to turn the game relatively easily, making PTE-PEAC the champion for the second time after 2017.
“I was under severe pressure, it was not easy for me to stand there at the table. As I can remember, I only got defeated by Dani KRISTON maybe twice in my career, which was an extra burden when the standing was 3:3” shared Lehel DEMETER after the final deciding match. “I did not really find my place in the first set, but I slowly started to see his mistakes, and the fourth set was very important because I could not let him to get stronger again.”
In addition to the current success, the players of Pécs can also be happy about that their best player, Zsolt PETŐ, who will make it to the Tokyo Olympics with the Serbian national team, will strengthen their team in the next season as well.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate the team of Celldömölk, because I think the audience could see a real ping-pong show” expressed Zsolt PETŐ. “Today we may have had a little bit more luck, and maybe we were even slightly better. This was my first year at PEAC, I promised that the cup would go to Pécs, and we kept our word. We want to defend our title next year, I will definitely stay at the team od Pécs. Besides focusing on my club, I will focus on Tokyo as this will be my first Olympics.”
The battle for the third place looked quite similar to the scenario mentioned before. The team of Mezőberény, led by Péter Sebestyén, was very close to the podium, but in the end Szécsény won by 4:3, so they collected another bronze medal next to the 2016 bronze and the 2017 silver medal in the Extraliga. Mezőberény finished fourth for the second time in a row.
EXTRALIGA FINAL FOUR
PTE PEAC Kalo-Méh I.–CVSE Swietelsky Jufa Hotels I. 4:3
Lehel Demeter, Zsolt Pető–Péter Fazekas, Márton Szita 3:1 (5, 5, –8, 8)
Gábor Gerold–Fazekas 2:3 (–6, 11, –4, 5, –6)
Pető–Dániel Kriston 3:2 (–11, 2,– 9, 9, 6)
Demeter–Szita 2:3 (7, 10, –7, –11, –9)
Pető–Fazekas 2:3 (–10, 7, –6, 13, –10)
Gerold–Szita 3:0 (6, 6, 12)
Demeter–Kriston 3:1 (–7, 4, 6, 9)
MATCH FOR THIRD PLACE
Szerva ASE Szécsény I.–HED-LAND Sportcsarnok SE Mezőberény 4:3
János Jakab, Péter Ingemar–Krisztián Szabó, Viktor Vajda 3:2 (–4, 8, 5, –4, 9)
Jakab–Dániel Kiss 3:0 (6, 10, 6)
János Németh–Péter Sebestyén 2:3 (9, –4, 9, –5, –9)
Zoltán Bátorfi–Vajda 1:3 (–6, –10, 7, –5)
Jakab–Sebestyén 1:3 (2, –9, –10, –10)
Bátorfi–Kiss 3:1 (8, 5, –9, 5)
Németh–Vajda 3:0 (11, 8, 9)