Yannick VOSTES keeps Belgium’s flag high

At the 2012 Euro Africa Circuit, Flanders Open, Antwerpen Men’s and Women’s singles event reached penultimate stage. In the semi final of the men’s event HUANG Sheng Sheng of Taipei will meet Steffen MENGEL of Germany and Belgium’s Yannick VOSTES will pla

At the 2012 Euro Africa Circuit, Flanders Open, Antwerpen Men’s and Women’s singles event reached penultimate stage. In the semi final of the men’s event HUANG Sheng Sheng of Taipei will meet Steffen MENGEL of Germany and Belgium’s Yannick VOSTES will play against Filip SZYMANSKI of Poland. In Women’s singles Event Sara RAMIREZ of Spain will play against Alena LEMMER of Germany whilst Szandra PERGEL of Hungary will meet barbora BALAZOVA of Slovakia.

In the quarterfinal MENGEL had a bad start against French Romain LORENTZ with 9:2 in reverse in the first set. “That was a bad start indeed. I realized I had to raise my concentration and play my best.”

That was exactly what he did: next four games went to the German player. Although there was some disturbance in the fourth set. “I wanted to change my service, but the referee took a point when I did not throw the ball high enough. I expected a warning. I kept my focus as every point counts.”

Looking forward, he expects a difficult match against Huang Sheng-Sheng of Cinese Taipei, whom he will play for the first time. “Like me he had a difficult start in the tournament with some close matches, but he is playing better and better as the tournament progresses.”

VOSTES overcame Quentin ROBINOT of France “I played even better than my last match against Fabian AKERSTROM. I had some difficulties with his service in the first game, but during the second I discovered the right tactics for this match. The key was to take more initiative and play aggressively. I was very focused during the whole match and didn’t make any mistakes when he was far behind the table giving high balls. I am very happy to have reached the semi-finals, especially because it is in my home country. The support of the public and the team was very important, “said VOSTES.

It was a tough match for Poland’s SZYMANSKI against OVERSJO. “I did not play against him before and I really had to search for the right way to beat him, which took me two sets. Placement was important here as my opponent is both strong in his back and forehand.”

The fifth set was a very close one with many twists. Filip started good with a 3-0 lead, at which point OVERSJO took a time out. At 7-6 in favor of SZYMANSKI, it was his turn to pause the game. He reached three match points. Mattias saved them all and even managed to conquer four of his own, before Filip was able to secure his ticket for the semi finals at 17-15. “It was mostly a mental game. I started to play safe and he was relaxed and had nothing to lose. I did not give up, though, and I am very happy and proud to have succeeded.”

It isn’t the first time Filip plays in Belgium. “There are some good tournaments here and I love coming to Belgium. I have good contacts with Didier LEROY which gives me the opportunity to train with the national team in Namur as well.

In the quarterfinal of the Women’s Singles Event Hungary’s Szandra PERGEL overcame Andrada VINCZE of Romania. The match had two faces: a rather close one in the first two games, but with a 2-0 lead it went a lot easier for the Hungarian.

“It is the first time I have played against VINCZE. I was excited and nervous in the first two games. In the third, I realized I could move a lot and use my big spin, which improved my game a lot against her. It wasn’t easy, though, she’s a very good player,” said PERGEL.

Looking forward next duel she said: “I would like to play the final. It will be difficult, though, because I will face BALAZOVA. We played once when we were younger. I am looking forward to this new encounter”.

In the semi final of the Girls Under 21 Singles Event Slovakia’s Barbora BALAZOVA beat Laura GASNIER of France.
“This was one of the hardest matches in this tournament so far. I started good on technical front, but lost my concentration after 2-0 lead. At 2-2 I started to focus more on my own game and tried to open as much as possible with my forehand topspin. I have a much better chance when I become more active,” said BALAZOVA and added concerning the tournament in general. “I am still not so satisfied with the game I play, but I will try to compensate that with my head”.

Belarus’ Alina ARLOUSKAYA overcame Germany’s Nina MITTELHAM in penultimate stage. Arlouskaya is a rather new name in the national team of Belarus, but she improves quickly. Coach Petkevic is pleased with her progress and her love for the game. “Alina did not start good in this tournament. We had a difficult trip and not enough sleep. But she starts to play better and better. This is the first time Alina overcame Nina. During the European Youth Championships in July, she lost twice in the decisive game. Today, she had a bad start. At 0-2 and 1-4 I called for a time-out and told her to change a few things: return more to the forehand; play faster chops and to different sides. After that, the game went better, even on the attack side. But it still was not an easy win.”

In Under 21 Boy’s Event Romain LORENTZ of France beat Benedikt DUDA of Germany whilst Thomas LE BRETON beat Tonin RYUZAKI of Japan. Le Breton was satisfied after his win in four straight games against the 14-year old Japanese boy: “I did not know him but I have heard he plays mostly with speed. I had that on mind by playing with a lot of rotation and using my serves. I won in four games, the first time in this tournament. It has been bit strange to do in a semi final.”

Being 2nd seed does not give the Frenchman any more stress: “I have prepared well and I know a lot of players are maybe ranked below me but are actually about the same strength as me, so the ranking does not mean too much. Romain LORENTZ is player close to my position, so I hope I can win against him in the final.”

(by Gijs LAMON)

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Photo: Barbora BALAZOVA (Photo Roscher)


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