Europe Top-16 Cup

Nina MITTELHAM and Patrick FRANZISKA clinched the titles at the POMEGRANATE Europe Top 16 Cup

Nina MITTELHAM and Patrick FRANZISKA of Germany clinched the titles at the POMEGRANATE Europe Top 16 Cup in Thessaloniki. In the final FRANZISKA overcame Marcos FREITAS of Portugal (12:10, 11:8, 11:6, 11:13, 11:5).

“This was my best performance at the tournament. We played fantastic rallies, but at the end all comes to small points and there I was mush better today,” said FRANZISKA.

Nina MITTELHAM of Germany  won her first title in singles at the major European tournament, after she already won gold in doubles and mixed doubles. In the final, Nina overcame Portugal's FU Yu (11:8, 8:11, 11:6, 11:3, 14:12).

YU Fu, who won the European Games in 2019 and was finalist in the EC women's singles in 2016, could not find the game for Nina who came in Thessaloniki after withdrawal of Petrissa SOLJA and HAN Ying.

“This victory is so important for me. For some time I am always close, but now I finally won the title. It means so much to me for the future and for the European Championships. FU was strong today, but I felt very well and I had full control,” said MITTELHAM.

This is the first top 16 or12 in this century in which neither BOLL, SAMSONOV or OVTCHAROV is playing. These 3 players won 13 of the 19 Tops played in this century (2013 was not played), and 8 from the last 9. The 9th was won by FREITAS in 2014. The other exceptions: SCHLAGER in 2000 and 2008, NAZE in 2004, SMIRNOV in 2005 and KREANGA in 2011.

Semi finals

In the semis, on her first appearance at the Europe Top 16 Cup, YU Fu beat the winner from the 2018 Bernadette SZOCS of Romania in thrilling match with lot of ups and downs (8:11, 11:9, 6:11, 7:11, 12:10, 11:8, 11:8).

“I am in top 16 players for years but this is my first year when I am eligible to play for Portugal at the Europe Top 16 Cup. I am happy that I reached the final despite a very tough challenge I faced. I was dow 1:3 but I kept on fighting,” said YU Fu.

With less drama, in the second penultimate stage match Nina MITTELHAM overcame Hana MATELOVA of Czech Republic (2:11, 4:11, 8:11, 8:11)

“I was very confident, because in all previous encounters I beat her. Of course, this was the semi final of the Top 16 and there were not guarantees. Day earlier Hana played at the top level and her performance here no one can underestimate. However, when the match started I felt I am mentally much stronger. I am looking forward my match against FU. I think physically I am better right now, but experience is on her side,” said Nina.

In Men's Event first semi final, seeded no. three Patrick FRANZISKA who won the first three games, withstood a spirited comeback from no. one seed Mattias FALCK to book his place in the final (8:11, 8:11, 11:13, 11:6, 11:9, 8:11).

“FALCK is the player who never gives up. He just played better and better as the match progressed. He improved everything in his game today and it was difficult to stop him,” said FRANZISKA.

Marcos FREITAS overcame Emmanuel LEBESSON of France in straight games, but not as easy as the result predicts (11:6, 12:10, 13:11, 11:6).

“ LEBESSON is the among very dangerous players for my game. It was very close, especially in the third game. Now, I am happy I managed to finish the match in four games and to gain some extra time to recover. Patric is playing very well here and he is very confident,” said FREITAS.