Europe Top-16 Cup

Day one at the POMEGRANATE Europe Top 16 Cup in Thessaloniki

 

In the semi final of the POMEGRANTE Europe Top 16 Cup in Thessaloniki in men's event tomorrow will play Patrick FRANZISKA of Germany vs. Mattias FALCK of Sweden and Marcos FREITAS of Portugal will meet Emmanuel LEBESSON of France. In women's semi final FU Yu of Portugal will meet Bernadette SZOCS of Romania whilst Hana MATELOVA of Czech Republic will face Nina MITTELHAM of Germany.

Round of 16

Ruwen FILUS was in charge for the first upset of the day 16 Cup. In the opening match in Round of 16 FILUS who is seeded at the position no. 12 overcame no 8 seed Kristian KARLSSON 2:4 (8:11, 6:11, 11:6, 6:11, 11:5, 5:11).

“I beat him only once, recently in the Bundesliga, but before that his record against me was clear. I was afraid of his service game. Today, I managed to find the game, although it was very difficult after fifth game, because the match could go both ways,” said FILUS.

In the powerful exchange of rallies the duel between Jonathan GROTH of Denmark and Marcos FREITAS of Portugal brought a lot of good action, but Dane failed to stop the favorite 2:4 (13:11, 5:11, 11:8, 7:11, 7:11, 12:14).

“The matches between us in Russia's League were always close. I was expecting difficult match,” said FREITAS.

 

FU Yu of Portugal proved to strong in Thessaloniki for NI Xia Lian of Luxembourg - 2:4 (11:7, 11:9, 9:11, 11:8, 9:11, 11:9), so NI exited the competition earlier than her rankings predicted. In the clash against FU Yu, NI failed to hold the control over the match after being 2:0 up. FU recovered to level and to win the match.

Bernadette SZOCS of Romania responded to very hard challenge from Yana NOSKOVA of Russia. Despite the 4:1 win it was very close encounter (11:9, 13:11, 11:13, 11:6, 11:7).

Dora MADARASZ of Hungary changed her fortune. For a first time in her career she overcame last year's silver medalists Britt EERLAND of Netherlands 2:4 (11:6, 9:11, 12:10, 3:11, 6:11, 9:11).

“We are playing against each other from the cadet's category, and I am so happy that I finally managed to beat her. My style of play is attacking, but against Britt I could not play that way. I had to play save and to take care that every ball goes to the table,” explained Dora.

Pure drama was seen in the match between Daniel HABESOHN of Austria and Patrick FRANZISKA of Germany 3:4 (8:11, 11:5, 11:7, 7:11, 11:4, 9:11, 17:19). The match concluded by narrowest margin after HABESOHN saved seven match points, before he lost.

'I thought I had a smart ideas how to play my service. It turned into the drama instead of victory, but from the beginning I knew it will be difficult and I was ready for the fight” said FRANCISKA smiling at the end.

Simon GAUZY of France faced Gionis PANAGIOTIS and more than enthusiastic crowd, who cheered Greek starfrom full lungs . It gave GIONIS good win in the back at the beginning, but from second game Simon took over the control 4:1 (6:11, 11:7, 11:4, 11:9, 11:6).

 

Georgina POTA of Hungary inflicted the pain in the harts of the host nation supporters by beating Alkaterina TOLIOU (11:6, 13:15, 8:11, 11:7, 12:10, 11:9). Hana MATELOVA of Czech Republic was in charge for another surprise after she halted the progress of Elizabeta SAMARA of Romania (11:8, 11:8, 11:6, 12:14, 11:8).

Sofia POLCANOVA of Austria justified her status by beating SHAI Jieni of Portugal, but she faced tough moments. Sofia was two games to one down but she recovered to win 4:2 (11:7, 5:11, 6:11, 11:8, 11:7, 11:6). Nina MITTELHAM of Germany went full distance in the duel against Barbora BALAZOVA of Slovakia (7:11, 11:9, 10:12, 12:10, 11:9, 5:11, 11:7).

 

Darko JORGIC of Slovenia was at the top of the game against Andrej GACINA of Croatia (11:2, 11:3, 11:6, 8:11, 11:9).

“We were together at the preparations for the European Championships and Olympic Games this year, so there is no big secret between us when it comes to game. I had fantastic start of the match; I was in control in three opening games, even had advantage 7:3 in the fourth. Then I lost the focus; managed to recover and faced problems again in the fifth game. I was 9:4 up before GACINA leveled to 9:9. He is very strong and if you do not play at the top he knows how to find the opportunity to attack,” said JORGIC.

Liam PITCHFORD of England overcame Croatia's Tomislav PUCAR (3:11, 11:4, 11:3, 11:6, 8:11, 11:4) to move to the quarterfinals. In the last match of the round, Austria's Robert GARDOS put Emmanuel LEBESSON of France under severe pressure, but former European champion succeeded in six games (8:11, 5:11, 11:9, 9:11, 11:5, 13:15).

QUARTERFINALS

In all German semi final Ruwen FILUS Patrick FRANZISKA 1:4 (11:9, 7:11, 7:11, 6:11, 5:11).

“We were club mates for so long and we know each other so well. It was difficult game, always hard for the attacker like me. It is my first semi final at the Top 16 and I had also to be thankful for the support I got here from the fans. They pushed me forward, it was amazing,” said Patrick.

FU Yu proved too strong for Dora MADARASZ (4:11, 8:11, 8:11, 12:14). Dora managed to put some pressure only in the fourth game, but then it was too late.

Bernadette SZOCS performed at the top level against Ganna GAPONOVA (4:11, 11:13, 2:11, 4:11, 11:9).

“It was long time since we played against each other so I spent all my time between matches today to study her game. I knew I had to be patient. I had to wait for the right ball, because she could bring back million balls after my mistake. I beat her and it is important to me for so many reasons. Last time I had three players with defensive style of play in my part of the draw and I broke my muscle. It was always in my mind. I was afraid of injury more than I was afraid of the adversary. Now when I succeeded I am looking forward next matches and European Championships. I can beat everybody,” said SZOCS.

In fantastic thriller Simon GAUZY failed to halt Marcos FREITAS' progress to the semis (10:12, 12:10, 11:13, 12:10, 9:11, 11:8, 3:11).

“It was very close game. There are not hidden tactics or anything surprising in our encounters any more. We know each other very well. It all came to little points at the end. I played safe, I did not make any easy mistakes; just went point to point. It was also physically challenging. I had a tough match this morning against GROTH,” explained FREITAS.

Hana MATELOVA created another upset and overcame Georgina POTA (11:7, 7:11, 12:10, 11:5, 10:12, 9:11, 7:11).

“I needed some time to prepare for this after victory over SAMARA. I felt I could win, but I had to fight really hard. I was down 1:3 and 8:10, but I recovered. I proved that I was better player now,” said MATELOVA.

Nina MITTELHAM eliminated top seeded Sofia POLCANOVA in the superb style (3:11, 7:11, 11:8, 11:13, 8:11). Nina avenged her defeat in the quarterfinal two years ago at Top 16.

“It is first time that I overcame Sofia and I am so happy now. At the beginning, today, I was not sure about my game, but the opening round win gave me confidence. I had very good start of the match against POLCANOVA; I gained quick 2:0 lead. POLCANOVA was not at the top of her game and I seized the opportunity. As game progressed I played better and better,” said MITTELHAM.

Thessaloniki proved lucky for Emmanuel LEBESSON. After five time playing at the Top 16, he finally succeed to the semis. As a matter a fact, he never passed the opening round before. French player beat Liam PITCHFORD 4:2 (11:5, 11:7, 10:12, 11:5, 10:12, 12:10).

“I got nothing against Montreux but it seamed I had to move to Thessaloniki to achieve my first victory,”said Emmanuel.”Against Liam I knew I had to have good start. Match developed in good direction for me since PITCHFORD was not able to return my service well. It gave me advantage and I made sure to keep it until the end.”

Mattias FALCK overcame Darko JORGIC to secure his position in the semi final (11:8, 11:5, 5:11, 12:10, 11:5).

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