Olympic Games

Germany sets standard, France and Romania follow suit

Imposing performances, Germany and France booked their places in the quarter-final stage of the men’s team event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, following success in the Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday 1st August.

Similarly in the women’s team competition there was success for Germany, as there was for Romania.

Alas, in the men’s event, Croatia, Portugal, Serbia and Slovenia bid farewell, a situation that applied in the women’s competition to Austria and Hungary.

Photo: Rémy Gros ITTF

Man of the moment was Simon GAUZY, he proved pivotal in the 3-0 success recorded by France, the no.8 seeds, in opposition to Hong Kong, the no.11 seeds.

He beat WONG Chun Ting in the second match of the fixture (11-5, 7-11, 14-12, 11-9). Previously in world ranking events, he had lost all three matches, on the ITTF World Tour he had experienced defeat at the hands of WONG Chun Ting in Hungary (2012), Czech Republic (2015) and China (2019).

Simon GAUZY responded to the occasion as did Alexandre CASSIN, playing his first ever match in an Olympic Games. Partnering Emmanuel LEBESSON, the duo recorded a doubles success against HO Kwan Kit and Lam Sui Hang in the opening match (12-10, 11-8, 11-6).

Emmanuel LEBESSON (FRA) overcame HO Kwan Kit (HKG) to conclude matters (12-10, 11-5, 11-4).

“We are very happy to reach last 8. We have played a great and solid game, it was the first time that I beat Wong today. The won in doubles put me in a good position so I’m happy about our performances today,” said GAUZY.

A 3-0 success for France, it was the same for the no.2 seeds, Germany’s Timo BOLL, Patrick FRANZISKA and Dimitrij OVTCHAROV. In an emphatic manner, they ended the hopes of the no.9 seeds, Portugal’s Tiago APOLONIA, Marcos FREITAS and João MONTEIRO.

“We respect our adversaries very much. Portugal has a very good and emotional players. The key moment was when we recovered from the 3:10 in reverse to win the opening game in the doubles. We could felt they were disappointed and we moved in higher gear,” explained BOLL.

Dimitrij OVTCHAROV faced Marcos FREITAS in his first match after bronze medal in singles.

“I could barely sleep last night and then I overslept the practice this morning. I needed that break because I was very tired. I recovery well for the match and it is good because we have high goals here,” said OVTCHAROV.

Patric FRANCISKA added: “OVTCHAROV brought extra dose of confidence into the team after the medal in the singles. “

Defeat for Portugal, for Slovenia and Serbia it was also farewell but not without a spirited effort.

Slovenia, the no.12 seed, experienced a 3-1 defeat when facing the no.4 seeds, Korea Republic. Notably, in the third match of the fixture, Bojan TOKIC now 40 years old, beat JEOUNG Youngsik (9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10); a win of note, on the current men’s world rankings Bojan TOKIC is listed at no.66, JEOUNG Youngsik at no.13.

Meanwhile, Darko JORGIC lost narrowly to JANG Woojin, extending the world no.12 the full seven games (7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5). Presently, Darko JORGIC is listed at no.28 in the global order.

Earlier JEOUNG Youngsik and LEE Sangsu had given Korea Republic the perfect start, accounting for Deni KOZUL and Bojan TOKIC (11-8, 11-8, 11-6); JANG Woojin remained unbeaten, in addition, he beat Deni KOZUL to bring matters to a conclusion (11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8).

Disappointment for Slovenia, arguably even greater for Serbia, the no.15 seeds, they experienced a 3-2 defeat when facing Brazil, the no.6 seeds.

Marko JEVTOVIC and Zsolt PETO beat Gustavo TSUBOI and Vitor ISHIY (11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8); by the narrowest of margins Marko JEVTOVIC overcame Gustavo TSUBOI (11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 15-13).

However, for Brazil, Hugo CALDERANO remained unbeaten, but he was tested. Against Dimitrije LEVAJAC in the second match of the engagement, he needed the full five games (11-8, 11-13, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5), as he did in the fourth contest when opposing Zsolt PETO to keep Brazilian hopes alive (11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8).

Matters level, Vitor ISHIY beat Dimitrije LEVAJAC (11-6, 11-6, 14-12) to seal Serbia’s fate.

A close call for Serbia, for the no.10 seeds, Croatia there were to be no moments of drama. Andrej GACINA, Frane KOJIC and Tomislav PUCAR experienced a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the no.7 seeds, Chinese Taipei’s CHEN Chien-An, CHUANG Chih-Yuan and LIN Yun-Ju.

Meanwhile in the women’s team event, it was a series of comprehensive performances.

Photo: Rémy Gros ITTF

The no.3 seeds, Germany’s HAN Ying, SHAN Xiaona and Petrissa SOLJA recorded a 3-0 win against the no.16 seeds, Australia’s Michelle BROMLEY, JIAN Fang Lay and Melissa TAPPER; a result emulated by the no.8 seeds. Romania’s Daniela MONTEIRO DODEAN, Elizabeta SAMARA and Bernadette SZOCS secured victory by the same margin when opposing the no.14 seeds, Egypt’s Farah ABDELAZIZ, Yousra HELMY and Dina MESHREF.

“We played in doubles together since we were 9, 10 years old. It is not only that you have the quality, but it is equally important that you understand each other very well. We are friends who knows when it is time to shut up, when it is time for laugh and what we have to do on the table,” explained Elizabeta SAMARA the “magic” of Romania pairings' success.

Bernadette SZOCS was under pressure against Dina MESHREF, but her previous experience helped her.

“I beat her after the COVID break, and it happened after two weeks of quarantine, when I was without the practice. It helped me in the moments when I was in reverse two games to null. I just thought I could made it then and I did it now,” said SZOCS.

SAMARA added: “I was not under pressure after SZOCS won her encounter. After we secured two crucial points from doubles and against no. one player it was much easier.”

Conversely, for the no.12 seeds, Austria’s LIU Jia, LIU Yuan and Sofia POLCANOVA, it was a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the top seeds, China’s CHEN Meng, SUN Yingsha and WANG Manyu. Similarly, the no.10 seeds, Hungary’s Maria FAZEKAS, Dora MADARASZ and Szandra PERGEL suffered by the same margin when facing the no.2 seeds, Japan’s Miu HIRANO, Kasumi ISHIKAWA and Mima ITO.

The remaining first round matches in the men’s team and women’s team events will be played on Monday 2nd August. In the men’s competition Sweden, the no.5 seeds, oppose Australia, the no.16 seeds; in the women’s France, the no.13 seeds, meet Singapore, the no.6 seeds, Poland, the no.11 seeds, oppose the Korea Republic, the no.7 seeds.

Quarter-final contests follow in the afternoon and evening sessions of play.