European Championships

Tiago APOLONIA reached the quarterfinal of the Men's Singles

In the quarterfinal of the Men's Singles Event at the European Championships in Munich tomorrow will play: Truls MOREGARDH vs. his teammate from Sweden Mattias FALCK, Timo BOLL vs. another German player, QIO Dang, Kristian KARLSSON of Sweden vs. Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany and Tiago APOLONIA of Portugal vs. Darko JORGIC of Slovenia.

In the match for the quarterfinal Tiago APOLONIA of Portugal beat Patrick FRANZISKA of Germany earlier than his seedings predicted (11:8, 9:11, 5:11, 11:5, 11:8, 11:8). FRANZISKA got the opportunity to rejoin his newly extended family, but nevertheless Tiago inflicted the pain in the hart of supporters.

The crowd supporting FRANZISKA in the Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle did not affect Portugal's player achievement.

"I like it so much. I like so much to play with spectators in an almost full hall. It doesn't matter if they are cheering for me or for my opponents. I started to play table tennis, I practice and I give my life for this, to play with so many spectators in such a nice hall. For me it is very nice to play that way. It doesn't matter who they are supporting, it is still very good. Much better than to play in an empty hall."

Speaking on beating Patrick FRANZISKA, APOLONIA added:

"He is probably in the best shape in his life. He has played very good in the last couple of years. He beat double Olympic champion) Ma Long in one of the last tournaments, so he is obviously very confident right now. We know each other very well. We played together in Saarbrücken for two seasons..I am sad that he is out of the tournament because in my opinion he was one of the biggest favorites to win, but of course I'm happy that I managed to win. He was a father two days ago and I already told him my congratulations for his kid, I wish him the best of luck for his family."

On what made him win:

"I don't know. It's really small details in table tennis. It's very small details deciding each set. I changed my tactics a little bit because I lost against him the past five-six times. Every time I've tried to do something new and it didn't work but today it worked and I'm happy."

No. two seed Darko JORGIC of Slovenia overcame Tomislav PUCAR of Croatia (11:5, 13:11, 8:11, 11:9, 11:7).

“It was difficult to play against PUCAR; we know each other very well. It helped that I beat him in three previous occasions; he was very passive at the begining, but from the second game the momentum changed. I had to fight really hard to block his attacks, to fought and stop his service and first ball. The fourth game was crucial. We played at the edge, since the 2:2 will be very dangerous for me,” said JORGIC.

Early departure of FRANZISKA made his way little bit easier.

“FRANZISKA was playing superbly this year, but after the birth of his son the lack of training was visible in his game. Nevertheless, APOLONIA is not the player I can underestimate. He is very experience and knows how to play big matches; on the other side this is my first quarterfinal at the European Championships. We played before against each other but in last two matches I won. It gives me little advantage,” said JORGIC.

The all-Swedish duel between Mattias FALCK and Anton KALLBERG ended in favor of FALCK (9:11, 11:7, 11:8, 14:12, 11:6). Kristian KARLSSON beat Alexis LEBRUN OF France (15:13, 16:14, 7:11, 11:13, 11:7, 11:6)

On the risk of not being invited to any gatherings with the LEBRUN family after eliminating Félix in the round of 32 and Alexis LEBRUN in the round of 16 on Friday, KARLSSON said:

"I'm pretty well in touch with their coach so I'll have to see if I can get in that way instead."

On what it is like to play the LEBRUN brothers:

"They've got such a varied play that hardly exists. It's probably only Truls Möregårdh in Europe who also has this kind of play. It's incredibly varied, they can come up with exactly anything. They can do a new serve at 9-9 in a deciding set. They've got that fearlessness and just go for it, it's pretty cool to see."

On what he did to win:

"You figure out a way. They're so young that perhaps a bit of experience plays a part today. I've been in European championship quarterfinals and rounds of 16 before and played in more tournaments. You could see that on them a little in the sense that it felt like I won most even sets."

On what he gains from having more experience:

"You know how to keep your thoughts under control. I don't know how they think obviously but I know how it was for me the first and second time. It's not that easy. If you lead 10-6, as he did in one set, you perhaps see the goal a little bit too soon. Small things like that I think play in."

On celebrating in front of the audience after the win, getting loud cheers:

"I have to thank everyone. It was a great response, which was a lot of fun. Then there are a lot of Swedes here, that's for sure, and they probably cheered the loudest. But it is a lot of fun that that many Germans appreciated the game."

Top seed Truls MOREGARDH of Sweden was satisfied with two wins over Joao GERALDO of Portugal and Jon PERSSON of Sweden.

"I move myself well. I feel like I approach some balls poorly but it feels very good, I manage to make up for it with nice forehands and good backhands because I move myself very well in the end. Normally, when I'm a little nervous and a little tired in the legs and not ready, then I move worse and everything else gets much worse."

He will meet Mattias FALCK in the quarterfinal:

"In Budapest last month I won 3-2 against Mattias and was down throughout the whole game but managed to turn it around in the end, which was a very strong achievement then, so I don't expect anything else but a very tough match this time too. He already has a medal from here so I will try to make it that I get a medal this time."

All- German clash also ended according to the merits; QIU Dang beat Benedikt DUDA (11:7, 11:7, 8:11, 11:9, 13:11).

“A quarterfinal in the European championships is obviously a big achievement. Nevertheless, the cherry on the top of the cake if I would get a medal here. The legend Timo Boll has quite a few medals in the Euros already so it will be a very tough match for me tomorrow. But I will give my best and try to win it of course."

best and try to win it of course."

Timo BOLL overcame WANG Yang in straight games (11:1, 11:8, 11:6, 11:9).

"It was a good performance. I am one of the strongest guys against defenders so I had a good start in each game and it was the key against him; to play free and put him a little bit under pressure so that he needed to risk a little bit more. Then he produced more unforced errors. I just played the ball very safely on the table with a high quality and was just looking at what was coming back for me. I had no stress in the game, so that's a good sign."

On playing compatriot DANG Qiu in the quarterfinal:

"He is one of the four guys in Europe who have taken the biggest step forward, together with Truls, Darko and Anton. He is one of our future players in Europe, but hopefully I can tease him a little bit tomorrow. He has improved a lot and I have a lot of respect and I know that it will be a tough game for me but I will fight for my chances and hopefully we can use them."

On his motivation for new medals:

"Overall, I'm 41, I've won this championship a few times. I don't have to show anybody that I am capable of it, that I can do it. I can try again. It would be a surprise to win here again but it's still a long way but I will try to fight for it and make some trouble for the younger guys."

In the Round of 32 Benedikt DUDA was under severe pressure in the match against Daniel HABESOHN of Austria, day after Daniel clinched silver in Doubles Event - 4:3 (11:4, 11:13, 11:8, 11:9, 9:11, 6:11, 11:7).

“HABESOHN already proved here that he is in good shape, so I was ready for the difficult match. We met before several times, mostly in Bundesliga, but this is our first duel at the International level,” said DUDA.”I was under pressure and the time out at 5:6 in the decisive game helped me to win. I took a minute to get all the bad emotions, frustration and anger at that point and after that I finished the match.”

Dimitrije OVTCHAROV of Germany recorded straight matches win over Csaba ANDRÁS of Hungary (11:8, 11:7, 11:8, 11:8).

“I studied his game and I was warned about him. However from the third game he could not keep the pace,” said OVTCHAROV.

Timo BOLL showed no mercy against Lubomir JANCARIK of Czech Republic (13:11, 11:3, 111, 11:2). Although he needed some time to feel the tournament.

"Especially from the second set. It wasn't effortless, I needed a high focus to play my balls with such an intention and high quality but overall it was much improved. I'm quite happy with my performance. I struggled a lot in the first round and I'm much happier with my performance today. That gave me some confidence for the next round. I just improved the touch and the overall routine in my game. I had a break for three weeks before the competition, with just a few training sessions before. I'm experienced but you can't swish this away. You need to find your rhythm and feeling for the balls and you're anyway a little bit nervous in the beginning. I hope that it will be gone and I am back in my normal playing skills.”

Timo received great support from the crowd.

“Already in the first round there was a great atmosphere, especially as the game was exciting, more exciting than today. But there will come some closer games for sure for them to freak out again. I won't play for show but I had some good shots today too, with my right hand, which I think they appreciate,” stated BOLL.

Patrick FRANZISKA strengthened the German line up for Round 16 with the win over Jakub DYJAS of Poland (6:11, 11:7, 11:8, 11:8, 11:9).

“It was important for me to start well in the second game because in the first he was surprising me a little bit with his serves. I knew I needed a good start in the second set to calm him down and to put me a little bit on top. From this time on I felt very good and aggressive and safe. In the last game, when he was leading, I also felt that I could always come back and play my good shots and that's why I'm very relieved,”said FRANZISKA.

French young player Alexei LEBRUN overcame Cedric NUYTINCK of Belgium (11:4, 11:8, 11:7, 11:4).

“I changed my serve a lot because I played him one month ago and won a very close match, 3-2. So I tried to do something new in the serve to start from my forehand and from my backhand to change. It has worked very well because I had many good balls after those serves. I tried to receive and serve well and that's the most important part because I think I had good balls. In the long rallies I think I'm better than him but in the short game, in the last match it was really close but in this match I was better. It is always hard to begin the point against him. It is my first European championships and my first big competition – I'd never played in other big competitions. So it is very, very important and I will try to do my best. I saw that my brother lost to KRLSSON so I will try to take the revenge. I've never played him before but Félix has played against him two times and I saw a lot of matches between them. It is for sure a hard match but for sure I will try to do my best to take revenge for Félix.

Newly - crowned doubles champion Mattias FALCK overcame Milosz REDZIMSKI of Poland (11:6, 7:11, 11:4, 11:8, 10:12, 11:7)

“After yesterday I've tried to recharge as much as possible. You need to try to sleep as much as possible and then focus on the singles tournament. But I think I did it well. I played a young, promising player, he has been in quarterfinal in the doubles and eliminated some good players in the singles tournament so I knew it would be a tough match. He is very good with the ball but I think I do it well, especially in the first attacks were important for me. It was important to get some good quality on them, then I made it difficult for him. I'm overall pleased to get this win with me.It was 4-2 but it felt very good throughout the whole match anyway. It's a new situation for us. Normally, the doubles tournament also ends on the last day. But it went better than expected – I thought I'd be more tired than I was, so it's positive.Kristian and I grabbed a burger at the hotel on the other side of the street, then we went straight back to get some treatment and try to get in bed early.”

 

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