European Olympic Singles Qualification | 24 Apr 2021

ROBLES and KOU booked their tickets for Tokyo

Photo: Rita TABORDA, courtesy PTTA

After stage two of the European Olympic Singles Qualification Tournament in Guimarães Alvaro ROBLES of Spain and KOU Lei of Ukraine, winners of the semi final duels in the Men's Singles Event secured their places at the Olympic tournament in Japan.

KOU Lei, the number four seed, overcame Rares SIPOS in the semi final (9, 7, 8, -4, -5, 6).

“I could not play backhand to backhand game against Rares. I had to use different tactics. I had to risk because it will be the only way to create some chances to win. I played more on forehand, adjust the receive and it proved successful,” said KOU.

KOU had a very big pressure from two previous unsuccessful attempts.

“I was already halted one step too early at the European Games in Belarus and at the World Qualification in Doha. This was my last chance,” added KOU who played already two times at the Olympics.”I am not getting any younger ;I am 34. In all three occasions I had to go through qualifications, but this tournament was the toughest. However, my experience helped me to reduce the pressure.”

For Alvaro ROBLES this will be the first Olympics. In the semi final he overcame Vladimir SIDORENKO (-9, 10, 12, -8, -9, 3, 15).

“It was extremely difficult victory .I did not have a feeling I am winning at all. Contrary, I was struggling all the time. He had control and I was fighting to survive. I played so many matches at this tournament, but this was first left hander I met here. It caused me a great problem. After 3:2 for him, I managed to find some rhythm in the sixth game; service was better. I stopped playing in his backhand,” said Alvaro.

SIDORENKO had four match balls in seventh game, ROBLES also missed two and took advantage of third.

“I could not sleep properly at this tournament. I was reading a books until 2-3 AM every night just to avoid any thinking about what will happened. In past years I was living just one dream, to play at the Olympics, and it was so difficult now when I came so close,” added Alvaro.



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