World Championships | 24 May 2023

PUCAR beat OVTCHAROV in Thrilling Encounter at World Championships Finals in Durban

In a captivating display of table tennis prowess, Croatia's Tomislav PUCAR, currently ranked 45th in the world, pulled off a remarkable upset by defeating Germany's Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, ranked 14th, in the Round of 32 of the Men's Singles Event at the World Championships Finals in Durban.

The intense match went the distance, with PUCAR emerging victorious with a final score of 4-3 (11-9, 8-11, 0-11, 11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6).

“It was very close encounter. We tried to outplay each other tactically and played game by game. What prevailed was that I played boldly in the last game and I managed to break away from the very beginning of the set. Then he chased me, but I kept my focus, played calmly and brought the match to an end,” said PUCAR.

PUCAR leveled his best ever result at he World Championships. He Reached Round of 16 in Budapest in 2019, when ke lost to Koki NIWA. Looking ahead to the next round, PUCAR is set to face Omar ASSAR of Egypt, who is currently ranked 30th in the world. ASSAR secured his spot in the Round of 16 by defeating Swede Truls MOREGARD 4-2 (11-6, 3-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9).

“I already play that match tomorrow. I have some time to set the right tactics with my coach and of course I will try to give the best of me,” said PUCAR.

Another notable upset occurred on the same day as Portugal's Joa GERALDO, ranked 47th, caused a stir by overcoming the challenge of Patrick FRANZISKA from Germany, currently ranked 17th in the world. GERALDO's perseverance paid off as he secured a hard-fought victory, triumphing 4-3 (4-11, 11-7, 17-15, 11-8, 10-12, 7-11, 11-6).
In other matches, Darko JORGIC from Slovenia emerged victorious with a convincing 4-0 win (11-8, 11-7, 11-4, 12-10) against Alexis LEBRUN of France.

Italy's Mihai BOBOCICA also continued his impressive performance, overcoming Alvaro ROBLES of Spain 4-2 (11-9, 3-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 16-14). Anders LIND of Denmark displayed his skill by defeating Noshad ALAMIYAN of Iran 4-1 (12-10, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9).

In the Women's Singles event, Tatiana KUKULKOVA of Slovakia, ranked 107th in the world, defied the odds to advance to the Round of 16, where she will face Germany's HAN Ying, currently ranked 9th. KUKULKOVA's impressive journey continued with a 4-1 victory (11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-9) over Gaia MONFARDINI of Italy. Meanwhile, HAN displayed her dominance by comfortably defeating Romania's Andreea DRAGOMAN in straight games (11-5, 11-3, 11-3, 11-6).

Adding to the excitement, Germany's Nina MITTELHAM secured her spot in the Round of 16 with a commanding 4-0 win (11-7, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4) over Taipei's LI Yu-Jhun.