European Championships | 12 Sep 2023
The ultimat day of Group stage matches in Malmö
After two days of play in the Group stage at the 023 STUPA European Table Tennis Championships in Malmö, seven teams in the Men's Event and seven in the Women's Event have already secured their places in the Round of 16. In each of the 14 occasions, the top teams in their respective groups justified their status.
In the Men's Event, the teams that have already secured a place in the knockout stage are Germany, Sweden, France, Portugal, Croatia, England, and Belgium. Slovenia lost to Denmark yesterday, and Darko JORGIC and his teammates await the outcome of the duel between Denmark and Türkiye.
In the Women's event, with two wins already, Germany, Romania, France, Portugal, Hungary, Luxembourg, and Sweden have progressed to the Round of 16. Slovakia, after a defeat against Czechia, awaits the match between Slovakia and the Netherlands.
Whilest the top teams will have a break, today we will follow matches between the teams seeded in positions two and three in the groups for the remaining positions.
You can follow the live score here
Live streaming on ETTU.TV.
Group A Poland – Finland 3-2
The last encounter in Group A delivered a thrilling duel that ended after five matches filled with drama. Poland recovered from a 0-2 deficit to beat Finland and secure a place in the Round of 16. Alex NAUMI set the stage for the upset as he overcame Samuel KULCZYCKI in five games. Milosz REDZIMSKI had beaten BOLL a day earlier but could not find the answer for Benedek OLAH tonight.
It was Maciej KUBIK who changed the course of the match. Aleksi RASANEN could not maintain the momentum for his team. Samuel KULCZYCKI overcame Benedek OLAH to level the score. OLAH was the fiRst to make a lead, but then Samuel took the control of the match. Milosz REDZIMSKI beat Alex NAUMI in the decisive match in straight games.
"I lost my first match against Benedek OLAH. I didn't play well in that match. I knew I needed to maintain my concentration if there were to be a last match. I'm happy that I could focus, and then I managed to win. I'm so thrilled. NAUMI really surprised us with his victory in the first match against Samuel [Kulczycki]. He played very well today. Then I had a really tough loss against OLAH. They were 2-0 up, which was not nice for us. We really needed to keep playing and keep fighting, and we won, "said REDZIMSKI.
Any thoughts about tonight's draw?
"After this kind of match - nope [laughing]. Now, we just want to sleep. Tomorrow we will think about the upcoming playoffs."
Germany is at the top of the Group.
Group B Czechia – Italy 3-2
The last session in the Arena was reserved for drama tonight. Lubomir JANCARIK led Czechia into the knockout stage after securing two wins over Italy's Matteo MUTTI and John OYEBODE. Pavel SIRUCEK lost to John OYEBODE, but in the decisive match, he overcame MUTTI. Andrea PUPPO defeated Jiri MARTINKO.
Josef PLACHÝ, Coach of the Czechia Men's Team: "It was a tough group. First, the big favorite Sweden, and then Italy, against whom we were the favorites. I'm glad we made it after a hard-fought battle. The Italians have a young team, and they played really well. The most important thing was that Lubomír JANČAŘÍK confirmed in this match that he is in excellent form. I believed in him and had no doubt that he would score two points. And then, of course, it was decisive that Pavel ŠIRUČEK managed to get comfortable after the first match and scored the third point."
Lubomír JANČAŘÍK: "It was not pleasant at all to start the second match at 1:2 and know that a loss means a trip home. I played against John OYEBODE in the qualifiers and won quite easily. But this was a different situation. I thought that if I didn't catch the beginning, there would be a problem. But I have to admit that I did it, and I played well. We certainly deserved to advance."
In Group B, Sweden holds the top position.
Group C: Ukraine – Serbia 3-0
While France takes a break after their successful first two days, Ukraine won the battle for the second position in Group C.
Dimitrije LEVAJAC put Yaroslav ZHMUDENKO under severe pressure and forced him to go the full distance, but Ukraine's player showed no mercy in the last two games.
Yevhen PRYSHCHEPA had an easier job against Zsolt PETO. Viktor YEFIMOV sealed the match with a win over Marko JEVTOVIC, launching Ukraine into the knockout stage.
Group D: Hungary – Greece 3-1
After 2 and a half hours of fierce fighting, Hungary booked their place in the round of 16 to join Portugal from Group D by overcoming Greece.
Panagiotis GIONIS beat Adam SZUDI to give Greece their only point. SZUDI overcame Ioannis SGOUROPOULOS, who also fell victim to Bence MAJOROS. Tamas LAKATOS overcame Georgios STAMATOUROS.
“We played against Greece only once before, and that was at the World Championships. They beat us 2-3, so we knew it was going to be a close encounter and how difficult it is to play against them. Against GIONIS, I could not produce the play that could stop him. He was very good today. MAJOROS played outstandingly against SGOUROPOULOS, and he beat him 12-10 in the decisive game. With LAKATOS winning four games, we were in the driving seat. It was 3-1, but it is never easy to enter the game at 1-1. My match against SGOUROPOULOS lasted a full five games again. I was down in each game, but I kept on fighting. It would have been so difficult if GIONIS had returned for the decisive match. We had to finish it,” explained SZUDI.
Group E: Switzerland – Austria 0-3
Austria beat Switzerland to join Croatia in the Round of 16. All three matches concluded in straight games. Andreas LEVENKO beat Elias HARDMEIER, Robert GARDOS prevailed against Loic STOLL, and Maciej KOLODZIEJCZYK accounted for Pedro OSIRO.
Group F - Denmark – Türkiye 3-0
Denmark overcame Slovenia in the biggest upset of the day yesterday. Today, they solidified their leading position with a victory over Türkiye. Slovenia advanced to the Round of 16 from the second position.
In the ultimate match of the first phase, Jonathan GROTH, Anders LIND, and Tobias RASMUSSEN prevailed against Abdullah YIGENLER, Ibrahim GUNDUZ, and Ali Afsin GUL without any major alarms.
Group G: Norway – Romania 0-3
Topping Group G, England successfully concluded two days of play in Sweden. On the third day, Romania joined them after a victory over Norway. Borgar HAUG's brave effort resulted in a long-distance duel against Eduard IONESCU, but he failed to secure the point for Norway. Ovidiu IONESCU and Teodor ISTRATE prevailed in straight games against LAM Khai Noah and Alexander FRANSSON.
"We expected a tough match, especially in my match against Borgar Haug. I've known him for a long time, and we've practiced together before. I knew what to expect, and I knew it would be a tough and challenging game. In the end, fortunately, I played very well and was able to handle all the emotions. My team did a great job in the matches that followed," said Edvard IONESCU.
Group H Netherlands – Slovakia 0-3
Yesterday, Belgium safely advanced to the second stage with two wins in Group H. In the battle for the second position in the group, Slovakia defeated the Netherlands in straight matches. Lubomir PISTEJ, WANG Yang, and Jakub ZELINKA left Kas VAN OOST, Gabrielius CAMARA, and Barry BERBEN without an individual victory in Sweden.
Group A: Austria – England 3-0
Despite missing their team's No. 1, Sofia POLCANOVA, Austria managed to secure the second position in Group A and advance to the Round of 16 alongside Germany. England, also without their No. one, Tin Tin HO, who is currently prioritizing her stying a medicine degree, could not produce a game to halt Austria's progress.
Amelie SOLJA beat Jasmin WONG; Karoline MISCHEK overcame Emily BOLTON, and Anastasia STERNER sealed the match with a victory over Mollie PATTERSON.
Group B: Slovenia - Croatia 0-3
In the group where Romania concluded at the top, Croatia followed their path. In the clash for the second position, they overcame Slovenia in straight games. Two matches went the full distance. In the opening match, Ivana MALOBABIC was stretched to the full distance in the duel against Lea PAULIN, while Mateja JEGER MAJSTOROVIC beat Sara TOKIC in straight games before Hana ARAPOVIC beat Ana TOFANT in five games.
Group C: Türkiye – Italy 0-3
After both teams suffered at the hands of French players, the direct clash between Türkiye and Italy resolved the question of which team would move to the knockout stage. Italy's Nikoleta STEFANOVA, Giorgia PICCOLIN, and Gaia MONFARDINI prevailed in straight matches against Sibel ALTINKAYA, Ozge YILMAZ, and Ece HARAC.
Group D: Bulgaria – Serbia 3-0
From Group D, Portugal and Serbia will continue to the Round of 16. Serbia prevailed against Bulgaria in three matches. Andrea TODOROVIC beat Maria YOVKOVA, Izabela LUPULESKU proved too strong for Tsvetlana GEORGIEVA, and after a little drama, Aneta MAKSUTI beat Kalina HRISTOVA.
“We expected the victory against Bulgaria, but we did not underestimate our adversaries at any point. We gave our maximum, and it was only Aneta who prolonged the end. I think she liked the idea of playing a little longer,” joked Izabela LUPULESKU.
Yesterday against Portugal, Serbia lost after five matches.
“Sabina beat YU Fu, and Aneta overcame PINTO, but SHAO Jieni was playing superbly. Maybe I could have created some more chances against YU, but we had never played against each other before, and I needed some time to read her game,” stated LUPULESKU.
Group E Czechia – Netherlands 3-0
With a victory over the top-rated team in Group E, Slovakia, the day before, Czechia showed their aspirations toward the top. Today, Hana MATELOVA, Zdena BLASKOVA, and Katerina TOMANOVSKA justified that victory with a win over the Netherlands' Tanja HELLE, Shuohan MAN, and Emine ERNST. Czechia moved to Round 16 as the top-ranked team in the group, followed by Slovakia.
Renáta ŠTRBÍKOVÁ, Czechia women's team coach:"I am really very satisfied. We seized the opportunity by having a “good group” and took a chance to fight for the first place and a better starting position in the round of 16 draw. We managed to do that, so we are happy. The match against the Slovaks was harder and more close, especially mentally demanding. Against the Netherlands we had to confirm a good performance. Underestimating the opponents was out of the question"
Zdena BLAŠKOVÁ:"Shuohan has a Chinese rubber on her forehand, and I don't like that very much. We were leading 1-0, which really calmed me down a bit. I knew that even a possible loss would not be a disaster. I've never played against her, so I stuck to the tactics from the video and went for the win. I felt very good behind the table, and I was better. It was, of course, quite mentally demanding. Especially in the third set, I thought to myself that I should finish the game and not allow my opponent to equalize. So I kept thinking about ending the match as soon as possible, which I finally did."
Group F: Ukraine – Belgium 3-0
Ukraine recorded a victory against Belgium to book the second place in Group F, below Hungary. Margaryta PESOTSKA overcame Lilou MASSART, Ganna GAPONOVA prevailed against Margo DEGRAEF, and Solomiya BRATEYKO overcame Julie VAN HAUWAERT.
"We were sad after the defeat yesterday. We have played Hungary so many times, and it's always 2-3. So, today against Belgium, we thought it was important to show that we will qualify for the round of 16. I lost the third game against Margo DEGRAEF. I know her well, and we have met in the French league, and normally I win. In the fourth, I tried to make fewer errors and play a safer defense, and that helped. There are two strong teams, Germany and Romania, but I think we are able to win against all the others. Our first goal is to qualify for the quarterfinal,” said Ganna GAPONOVA.
Group G Poland – Wales 3-1
In Group G, Luxembourg secured the top position with two wins, while Wales failed to secure any victories. Poland accounted for Wales today to move to the knockout stage as the number two team in the group. Natalia BAJOR recorded two wins over Charlotte CAREY and Anna HURSEY. Anna WEGRZYN beat Lara WHITTON, while HURSEY proved too strong against Katarzyna WEGRZYN.
“Yesterday, Luxembourg with NI Xia Lian was too strong. I am happy that we seized the opportunity to move forward with the win over Wales. We did not have a chance yesterday,” said Katarzyna.
BAJOR explained further: “We have a very young team, but despite our youth, we played in this lineup in Cluj two years ago. Therefore, I hope we will be able to reach the quarterfinals. So far, we hope for a good draw tonight.”
Group H Spain – Greece 3-1
Maria XIAO propelled Spain into the Round of 16 with a solid performance against Ioanna GERASIMATOU and Aikaterini TOLIOU.
Sofia-Xuan ZHANG lost to TOLIOU, but it only delayed Spain's overall victory. Maria BERZOSA defeated Konstantina PARIDI.
Sweden is at the top of that group after 3-2 victories over Spain and 3-0 against Greece.