European Championships

Top teams enters the stage on day 2 at the GAZPROM European Team Championships

The 2021 GAZPROM European Team Championships commenced today in BT Arena in Cluj. Follow the action live on ettu.tv and live score here see the pictures here  and on all social media platforms. On the second day of the play in Cluj top seeded teams played their matches in the Group phase. The winners of the groups will progress to the quarterfinal to be played on Friday. 

Croatia – Italy 3:2

No. 1 in Group G, Croatia was severely tested in the match against Italy, but after five thrilling matches, managed to record second victory in the Group. Andrej GACINA gave Croatia impressive start with the win over Marco RECH DALDOSSO (11:7, 13:11, 11:5), but Niagol STOYANOV responded promptly with the win over Tomislav PUCAR (3:11, 8:11, 6:11). Next in lane, Frane KOJIC lost full distance match against Leonardo MUTTI (6:11, 11:9, 12:10, 8:11, 9:11). GACINA pushed Croatia into decisive match after the win over STOYANOV (6:11, 8:11, 11:8, 11:5, 11:8). PUCAR sealed the match with win over RECH (11:7, 11:6, 11:9).

"I played quite bad in the first match against Niagol but I managed to play better against Marco RECH. Serving and receiving was the most important thing when playing against him. In the opening points he is a very good but I managed to won the short points. Next duel against Czech Republic is very important for us. We will have direct clash for the place in the quarterfinal,” said PUCAR.

Czech Republic – Hungary 3:1

In the same Group, Czech Republic won their second match at the Championships, little bit harder then yesterday against Italy. Tomas POLANSKY performed remarkable recovering to beat Adam SZUDI (11:9, 11:3, 8:11, 9:11, 11:8) and Lubomir JANCARIK was also stretched to full distance against Bence MAJOROS (9:11, 13:11, 6:11, 11:5, 11:5). Jiri MARTINKO lost to Nandor ECSEKI (9:11, 11:6, 5:11, 9:11). In last duel POLANSKY overcame MAJOROS (11:9, 8:11, 11:9, 11:7).

"It was definitely a close game. The most important thing was that I never though I might lose it. I kept on fighting. He had some extra rallies at the beginning, but I did not give up, I knew if I stayed persistent it will paid of at the end,” said POLANSKY.

JANCARIK: "I generally have no problem playing the opening match of the duel, but it is allways better to enter the game at 1:0. I'm happy with the win, because MAJOROS makes me a lot of problems each time. "

England – Poland 1:3

The top team in Group F in Women's Event, Poland, commenced their journey victoriously. England did not manage to create an upset, and they suffered the defeat for a second time at the Championships. Yesterday England lost to Sweden. In the opening round of the day it was Tin-Tin HO who gave her team better start with the victory over Katarzyna WEGRZYN (12:10, 11:8, 12:14, 9:11, 11:9), but then the pendulum swung. Natalia BAJOR won both her matches, firstly against Maria TSAPTSINOS (11:7, 11:9, 12:10) and in the end against HO (7:11, 14:16, 9:11) without losing the game. On position no. three Anna WEGRZYN overcame Charlotte BARDSLEY (11:7, 16:14, 11:9).

“I’m so happy. We are all very happy. We are a very young team. We’ve played without our best player LI Qian and Natalia PARTYKA. It was really hard match because the first one is always the hardest,” said BAJOR.

Speaking about her matches Natalia added: “I have a good tactic since I played before against Maria and Tin-Tin and I know how they play. Tomorrow we will play against Sweden. It will be a hard match. They have Linda BERGSTROM she is really good but we will try our best and we will see.”

Turkey – Netherlands 2:3

The leader in Group H, Netherlands faced difficult match against Turkey. Turkey lost yesterday against France 3:0, but today they forced Dutch team to go full distance. Sibel ALTINKAYA beat Emine ERNST (8:11, 12:10, 11:4, 11:6) to give Turkey good start, but Simay KULAKCEKEN failed to stay at the same path despite brave effort and good performance against Shuohan MEN (4:11, 11:9, 5:11, 11:6, 8:11). Gul Pembe OZKAYA brought back Turkey in the game with straight matches victory over Sanne DE HOOP (11:7, 11:3, 11:9), before ALTINKAYA lost to MEN (4:11, 9:11, 9:11) and Emine ERNST beat Simay KULAKCEKEN (11:7, 11:8, 9:11, 5:11, 6:11).

Shuohan MEN recorded two wins today:” I was a little bit afraid because it was also my first big match but now I’m relaxed, I’m feeling very good. I did not think about the result; I didn’t think about anything. I just got there, focus on what I have to do and play for myself. I told myself don’t be afraid”

 

Turkey – Portugal 0:3

Portugal secured straight matches victory over Turkey on their first appearance at the Championships. Tiago APOLONIA overcame Ibrahim GUNDUZ (8:11, 4:11, 11:9, 4:11), Marcos FREITAS beat Abdullah YIGENLER (9:11, 6:11, 11:7, 4:11) and Joao MONTEIRO prevailed against Tugay YILMAZ (3:11, 12:10, 9:11, 6:11).

“I’ve never played before in Romania before. The conditions are very good, the venue is very suitable for table tennis and everything is so well organized. The Portugal team is having a good start. We have one more match tomorrow against Denmark and we must win to qualify to the quarterfinals. We are all motivated to play well to win the next matches.Due to so many matches played and a lot of practice during the Top 16 Tournament I had a slight pain in my shoulder. But I feel better now and I played good again today. So I am very confident, having playing really good during the last weeks. I would like to maintain or even to improve my present level,” said FREITAS.

France – Netherlands 3:0

France was in the fast lane in the match against Netherlands. They needed little more than one hour to secure the victory without losing the game. Alexandre CASSIN overcame Gabrielius CAMARA (11:9, 11:3, 11:6), Emmanuel LEBESSON beat Kas VAN OOST (11:7, 11:7, 11:1) and Can AKKUZU succeeded against Milo DE BOER (11:1, 11:2, 11:4).

“I think that my shape is quite well despite the fact that I just returned from Qatar. That was not the best preparation for coming here, to be honest. But we will try to play our best games here. It is hard to get the picture about our shape from the match against Netherlands. The duel against Russia will will be the real challenge,” said LEBESSON.

Speaking about the match against Netherlands LEBESSON added: “We knew that it is a young team, there are some new players. We have to stay focused because- you never know. It was not so easy for me playing in the first game but I managed to find good solutions. Kas is a good player. I watched yesterday his match against SIDORENKO. These kind of players can be dangerous, you never know, you must be ready to fight from from the very first point.”

Ukraine – Slovenia 3:0

Ukraine justified its rankings and overcame Slovenia in straight matches. Margaryta PESOTSKA beat Lea PAULIN (11:2, 11:2, 11:6), Ganna GAPONOVA continued in same style against Katarina STRAZAR (11:5, 14:12, 10:12, 11:7) and Solomiya BRATEYKO ended the match with the win over Ana TOFANT (11:9, 11:8, 13:11).

“Before the match we know we will lead and for sure our goal was the victory so now we are feeling okay but right now I’m already focused for the next round and next matches,” said GAPONOVA.”It was my first match in this venue so my goal was to feel the ball and the table and the atmosphere. In the beginning it was easy but, later, Katarina started to play better and I found that if I want to win I have to focus more at every point.”

Greece – Russia 0:3

Russia entered the competition in the big style. They showed no mercy on the first hurdle and overcame Greece in straight matches. Yana NOSKOVA overcame Konstantina PARIDI (17:15, 11:6, 11:6), Aikaterini TOLIOU took only one game from Polina MIKHAILOVA (7:11, 5:11, 11:9, 4:11) and Mariia TAILAKOVA beat Elisavet TERPOU in another straight games duel (4:11, 2:11, 4:11).

“It was not as easy as the result predicts. For us this was the first match in this hall. Of course we are happy and satisfied but focused on tomorrow. We still have to play against Luxembourg. We are confident and well prepared, but also very cautious,” said Polina.

Serbia -England 2:3

On its way to Cluj in the first stage of the European Championships, Serbia overcame England twice. Now, England avenged those defeats but not without great difficulties. Match started in favor of England after Liam PITCHFORD beat Marko JEVTOVIC (6:11, 2:11, 11:7, 9:11), but Zsolt PETO leveled by overcoming Paul DRINKHALL (11:8, 11:8, 11:4). Dimitrije LEVAJAC beat Tom JARVIS to wider the gap (8:11, 6:11, 11:3, 11:4, 11:3). Marko JEVTOVIC failed to finish the match after fantastic performance of Samuel WALKER (11:5, 7:11, 7:11, 11:4, 10:12) and Liam PITCHFORD beat Zsolt PETO (9:11, 10:12, 5:11) in the decisive match.

“It was a really, really tough match for me and also for my team so it was amazing to get trough that. I feel relieved to get through. It’s been a while for me since I played in an event like this. Amazing. As I said it’s been really tough, some time I do not manage the pressure. That is something I try to work on it. Obviously today I managed to handle that quite well in the situation I was in at 2 – 2 and 10 – 7 down saving three match points,” said WALKER.

What was the key moment of your match against Marko JEVTOVIC.

“Probably the half way through the second set when I came back fro,m I think 5 – 2 down, I managed to get through that and I tried to change the way I play. I became more aggressive and I think that I changed the momentum of the match.We will play Slovakia tomorrow, again a tough one. Yang WANG it is a great player, a defender but hopefully we can, you know, we will go out there and give our best and hopefully we can come through that tomorrow.”

Greece – Sweden 0:3

Sweden showed no mercy in the duel against Greece. After Truls MOREGARD beat Ioannis SGOUROPOULOS (8:11, 6:11, 10:12) it was all one way street for the leaders in Group B. Konstantinos KONSTANTINOPOULOS suffered by the hands of Anton KALLBERG (10:12, 5:11, 5:11), whilst Jon PERSSON prevailed against Giorgos KONSTANTINOPOULOS (7:11, 7:11, 5:11).

“It’s a very nice feeling to play in this venue again. Maybe I do not have the best memories from the final in youth Championship, but now we had a great start. We played a very good match. Sometimes there are a lot of pressure but I think we feel very good here. I played quite a lot of matches in the League and in the Champions League so I am really into the season in a good way. I strongly believe that we can achieve big things here. We will meet Belgium tomorrow. It will be a tough match but we will give our best to win,” explained MOREGRAD.

Spain – Austria 2:3

Patiently, Austria built their victory over Spain despite Alvaro ROBLES' great run and two wins. Robles beat Daniel HABESOHN (11:9, 12:10, 6:11, 11:8) at the beginning of the match, but Robert GARDOS nullified that by beating Carlos CABALLERO (7:11, 5:11, 5:11), before crucial match started. Jesus CANTERO failed to halt Andreas LEVENKO (7:11, 11:9, 9:11, 11:5, 6:11). Alvaro ROBLES beat Robert GARDOS (11:9, 11:4, 12:10) and in decisive match Daniel HABESOHN succeeded against Carlos CABALLERO (7:11, 4:11, 6:11).

“We are old for “big” wins, 3:2, works just fine for us,” explained GARDOS laughing. “The key point was that LEVENKO win his match. HABESOHN beat ROBLES two weeks ago in Bundesliga, but we did not count for that here. We wanted to secure other three points. Also we were in Qatar, so we are still not adjusted to this tables and balls, there were not enough time for practice...so all in all this is good win.”

Tomorrow, Austria will meet Poland.

“It is completely different situation. There is no weak points there we are going to fight hard for each.”

Romania – Belgium 3:0

Romania proved as a perfect host for the Championships but when it comes to the competition they gave nothing less than a pure pleasure for the home supporters. Women team beat Belgium in straight matches. Bernadette SZOCS broke the ice with the win over Nathalie MARCHETTI (8:11, 12:10, 11:6, 11:8), Elizabeta SAMARA followed the path with win over Margo DEGRAEF (11:7, 11:2, 10:12, 11:7). Daniela MONTEIRO DODEAN finished the match with the win over Sara DEVOS (11:5, 11:5, 11:3).

“This is an excellent start for the Romanian team. It is not always easy to play at home and we feel a little bit more pressure. The first matches are always harder than the other. We are not use to play matches at home, but I believe that our team will play better and better. Playing with spectators is something “new”. Due to the Covid pandemic we played many matches without spectators in the last period It is such a good feeling to have our supporters here. We prepared very hard for this Championships and we are ready for the big fights because as the Championships progresses it will be harder and harder,” said SZOCS.

Germany -Slovakia 3:0

Germany put its youth on test and they passed it easily. Nina MITTELHAM, still fresh from the title won at the POMEGRANATE European Top 16 Cup from last week, beat Tatiana KUKULKOVA (11:7, 9:11, 11:9, 11:4) to give her team dream start. More experienced Sabine WINTER overcame Slovakia's no.1 Barbora BALAZOVA (11:3, 11:8, 11:3) to wider the gap. At the end European youth champion from Varazdin Annett KAUFMANN beat Ema LABOSOVA (11:8, 13:11, 11:3).

“Slovakia created big upset yesterday, by overcoming Spain, so we knew what they could do. They have a strong team, especially their no.1 BALAZOVA , she can beat probably everyone in this hall. We are satisfied that we won 3-0 and we have to continue like this. We were very focused, we prepared well and we played well and now we are happy that we won and looking for more in the next matches,” said Sabine WINTER.

Speaking about the young team WINTER added:”We are here without our top three players which played at the Olympics. We need to learn to play in this situations and we managed it well today.”

Finland – Romania 1:3

Romania beat Finland in close encounter. Benedek OLAH lost to Rares SIPOS (11:8, 9:11, 11:5, 9:11, 8:11) at the beginning, whilst Ovidiu IONESCU proved to strong for Sam KHOSRAVI (2:11, 4:11, 4:11). Alex NAUMI won the only point for Finland in the match against Hunor SZOCS (16:14, 11:8, 9:11, 11:7). Benedek OLAH suffered on his second exit to the table against Ovidiu IONESCU (11:13, 11:7, 11:6, 5:11, 6:11).

Rares SIPOS said: “It was a really hard match today with a lot of fight and a lot of sweat from us. We are very happy. I managed to win the first game today in 5 sets against Benedek. I’m very grateful for our supporters who came today and helped us to win. We will try to play our best in the next round and of course to win. All I can say more know is “ GO ROMANIA!!!” .”

Germany – Ukraine 3:0

Germany posted quick straight matches win over Ukraine. Patrick FRANZISKA beat Yaroslav ZHMUDENKO (11:8, 11:7, 11:9), Benedikt DUDA prevailed against Yevhen PRYSHCHEPA (11:5, 11:9, 11:7) and Dang QIU succeeded against Anton LIMONOV (11:4, 11:2, 11:3).

“It looks good 3:0 – 9:0, but do not forget they overcame Belarus yesterday. If they have beat us, today, we could just pack our things. We study the match they played yesterday, we realised that both ZHMUDENKO and PRYSHCHEPA could be dangerous and we were ready. We were focused and this was good start,” said FRANZISKA.

Slovenia – Luxembourg 3:1

Darko JORGIC recorded two wins to push Slovenia into another victory at the Championships. He beat Luka MLADENOVIC (11:8, 11:8, 11:5) and Eric GLOD (11:9, 11:3, 11:8). GLOD previously beat Peter HRIBAR (11:9, 7:11, 7:11, 11:9, 4:11), whilst Tilen CVETKO overcame Eric THILLEN (7:11, 11:3, 11:7, 10:12, 12:10).

“It’s always nice to play here, I mean the hall is perfect and the conditions are really good. Tomorrow is a big day for us, we are going to play one of the most important matches here, against Romania. For sure it will be a tough one and I am eagerly looking forward. Hosts has a very good team and all the three players are amazing. Everything is possible. My team will be ready to fight giving its best.

Austria – Serbia 3:0

Austria followed the success of their male compatriots, but they produced the victory much faster. Serbia suffered in straight matches. Sofia POLCANOVA beat Izabela LUPULESKU (11:4, 8:11, 11:6, 12:10), before LIU Jia recorded victory over Sabina SURJAN (11:8, 11:8, 6:11, 11:4) and Karoline MISCHEK beat Tijana JOKIC (11:6, 6:11, 11:5, 11:3).

“Today we played our first match and it is always difficult because you are a little bit nervous, you are under pressure, but overall I am very happy with our performance. We won three nil showing a great teamwork. It was a strange match because I had to adjust also to the hall, but as I said before overall I am satisfied with my performance. I hope we will repeat the success in the match against Belarus tomorrow,” said POLCANOVA.

Hungary- Croatia 3:2

Hungary went through agonizing five matches against Croatia. Dora MADARASZ had the quick opening match victory against Ivana MALOBABIC (11:9, 11:7, 11:8) whilst Georgina POTA beat Mateja JEGER in five games (4:11, 5:11, 11:8, 11:9, 11:6). Petra PETEK beat Leila IMRE to halt Hungarian progress (5:11, 4:11,11:13) and after that Dora MADARASZ suffered by the hands of Mateja JEGER (9:11, 4:11, 7:11). In the decisive match Georgina POTA overcame Ivana MALOBABIC (7:11, 11:3, 11:7, 11:6).

“The match against Croatia was a quite difficult match. We knew that it will not be easy. Playing against pimps it was always challenging for me and also for Dora MADARASZ. Last time when I played pimples it was three years ago. Today everybody did a very good job despite the fact that we have know a younger team. I very proud . It was a very good beginning and I hope that tomorrow we will win again,” said POTA.

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