European Championships

Tears of joy as Petrissa SOLJA finally won the medal in Singles

Photo: Bogdan Pasek

Four players in each Men's and Women's Singles Event secured the medals at the LIEBHERR ITTF European Championships. In tomorrow's semi finals in Men's Event Top seed Mattias FALCK of Sweden will meet Timo BOLL of Germany whilst Marcos FREITAS of Portugal will play against Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany.

In Women's Event, in the semi final Elizabeta SAMARA of Romania will play against Petrissa SOLJA of Germany and SHAN Xiaona of Germany will meet Margaryta PESOTSKA of Ukraine.

FALCK overcame his teammate Jon PERSSON in straight games (2, 7, 10, 6).

“It is always special moment when you have to play against good friend and teammate and the match was much closer than the result predicts. I am happy that I came to the top level of my game and at the end it is important that Sweden has the medal,” said FALCK.

FALCK wished that in the semis he will meet Swede again since at that moment the match between two club-mates BOLL and Anton KALLBERG was still running. His wish did not came true and after five games at the edge of the knife BOLL prevailed (10, 15, 8, 8, 14).

“This was one of my best games this year. I was agile, I played at the top level. It is a shame that I had to meet my club -mate from Borussia Dortmund at this stage because he improved his game so much and he deserved to crowned it with the medal at the Europeans. Every game was very close, but I think the opening one was crucial” said BOLL.

Marcos FREITAS who won silver in Ekaterinburg overcame Ovidiu IONESCU of Romania on his way to the semis (-5, 5, 5, 9, 6).

“We played already few times and it always was close game but throughout the Championships I reached good shape and I am happy with my performance. I am looking forward tomorrow's match,” said FREITAS.

Dimitrij OVTCHAROV overcame Lubomir JANCARIK of Czech Republic in thriller that went from one side to another, but eventually finished in favor of OVTCHAROV (7, 7, 9, -9, -7, -9, 8).

Elizabeta SAMARA had to fight hard to beat Sabine WINTER of Germany (-7, 7, 11, -8, 7, 4) in the quarterfinal.

“For once I am a winner after a close match. Somehow, even when I was behind, I felt that I’m the one who is in control of the game. During this tournament I feel good, I am moving very good. Every single match I payed here, I ended with 4:2 result in the . I don’t mind winning next two matches by the same result,” said Elizabeta SAMARA.

SHAN Xiaona halted young Swede Linda BERGSTROM (10, 9, -8, -4, -8, -8) after she was two game to null in reverse.

“We played against each other in the Champions league so I knew what to expect and it was exactly this- very hard match. I feel little bit tired after playing constantly in singles and doubles, so I needed some time to start playing well,” said SHAN.

PESOTSKA halted the progress of the top seeded player Sofia POLCANOVA of Austria in five games (4, -15, 7, 8, 13), whilst in the duel between SOLJA and FU Yu of Portugal, Germany's player was stretched to full distance (6, 11, 2, -8, -13, -2, 9). FU recovered to level the match from 0:3 to 3:3, but after close fight SOLJA whitstood her spirited comeback.

“We played some many times against each other and every time I lost in the decisive game. This time I won and I am grateful for the support I got from the whole team. They were here, watching the match and they game me the power especially when I needed the most, in the last game. Also I played five times in the quarters before and finally I made it to the semis,” said SOLJA.

On the last day of the Championships, tomorrow at 4.10 CET PM Jakub DYJAS of Poland and Cédric NUYTINCK of Belgium will play for the title in the Men's Doubles Event at the LIEBHERR ITTF European Championships in Warsaw. On the opposite side of the table Lev KATSMAN and Maksim GREBNEV of Russia will challenge them. Both pairings came as surprise winner of the semi final duels in Warsaw.

KATSMAN and GREBNEV overcame Adam SZUDI and Nandor ECSEKI of Hungary (-9, 9, -7, 7, 7).

“It was so difficult. We were 1:2 in reverse and then 0:5. After that we started to play with more confidence and we managed to regain the control over the match. In the decisive game ECSEKI had three incredible receives. We did not even manage to see where is the ball; he performed magic. We had to change something again and I started to play on SZUDI,” explained Lev KATSMAN.

Jakub DYJAS and Cédric NUYTINCK overcame Portugal's Tiago APOLONIA and Joao MONTEIRO (8, 6, 5).

“Russian young pairings are very motivated and they play fantastic tournament here, but we are also well prepared and ready for the match,” said NUYTINCK.

We will have the all-German final in the Women's Doubles Event. In the clash for the title, tomorrow at 3.30 PM CET, Nina MITTELHAM and Sabine WINTER will meet Petrissa SOLJA and SHAN Xiaona.

In the semi final Nina MITTELHAM and Sabine WINTER overcame Ganna GAPONOVA and Tetyana BILENKO of Ukraine (-10, 6, 7, 8).

Sabine WINTER said:”The semi-final was a difficult one. The Ukrainians started really well. We tried to find the right way to beat them. During the match we got better and better, we found a style of play that was dangerous for our adversaries.”

Petrissa SOLJA and SHAN Xiaona prevailed against French pairings Stéphanie LOEUILLETTE and YUAN Jia Nan (-7, 9, 8, 6).

“It was the first time we played against them and it was a good experience as they will also play in Tokyo at the Olympics. It was also good to see YUAN play, I've never played against her,” said SOLJA.”Regarding the final, it should be a matter of how we feel on that particular day. We cannot surprise them because they have known us for many years. I guess the coaches are happy, they can sit and rest during the finals, moreover, gold and silver medals will go to Germany.”