Europe Top-16 Cup | 7 Feb 2015
FREITAS won epic battle on his way to semis
The semi finalists of the 2015 NN Table Tennis Club ITTF – Europe Top 16 are Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany, who will play against Panagiotis GIONIS of Greece and Marcos FREITAS of Portugal who will face Simon Gauzy of France. Panagiotis GIONIS had a shak
The semi finalists of the 2015 NN Table Tennis Club ITTF – Europe Top 16 are Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany, who will play against Panagiotis GIONIS of Greece and Marcos FREITAS of Portugal who will face Simon Gauzy of France.
Panagiotis GIONIS had a shaky start against Tiago APOLONIA of Portugal. The opening game of the quarterfinal duel went on Tiago’s account -11:2
“APOLONIA changed his tactics at the very beginning of the match. I did not expect it. He was also much more relaxed, whilst I was playing under pressure. However, as a match progressed I get more into game, he became nervous and missed few important balls,” explained GIONIS.
The match against SAMSONOV day earlier was a turning point.
“I had a bad start of the tournament. I lost against MONTEIRO, so win over SAMSONOV brought me back in game. I found the rhythm and myself. I am defender and every match requires a lot of running and lot of work and as a name says, this is Top event with top players, so no one goes easily here,” explained GIONIS.
There were no lack of suspense neither in the duel between Simon GAUZY and Robert GARDOS. French player was 3:0 down before he won fourth game 11:0 and recovered to win the match.
“I did not thinking of quit at any point, even when I was 3:0 down. I can not explain what happened then, but once again it proves that my mental strength is my main weapon,” said GAUZY.
GAUZY reached semi final stage on his very first appearance at the Top 16.
“I am extremely happy. Today I beat GARDOS who is one of the best European players in past 10 years. Generally, this semi final is the best result in my career.”
In another impressive match Dimitrij OVTCHAROV reached semis. Champion from Top 12 in Lyon beat Adrien MATTENET in straight games.
“There is nothing you can say about Adrien’s performance, but simply I am in perfect shape here. I practiced very hard in past few weeks. Adrien was relaxed. He played like he got nothing to lose and it gives spectators the chance to enjoy good match.”
Tomorrow OVTCHAROV will meet GIONIS. “For sure it is going to be long match. It is always challenge to play against defender. Also, we are playing in the big hall and it will slow down the ball a little. It will work in Panagiotis’ favor. Of course I will be ready and I am looking forward our duel.”
It takes 70 minutes for reigning champion Marcos FREITAS to book his place in semi final. In epic battle he beat his teammate Joao MONTEIRO.
“Joao was very good tonight. He had 2:0 lead and 10:8 in third game, before I managed to turn the direction of the match.” When you realized you would win? “It did not happen at all. He was very good, very aggressive. I was after him all the time. My goal was just to put a ball to the table and to win one point at the time. After 3:2 I realized I have chance and at that point it was 50:50.”
Tomorrow Marcos will play against GAUZY.
“Last time I beat him at the World Championships in Tokyo 3:1, but it was very close game. Since then he improved him play and he was really good in past two days in Baku. I have to take good rest and to clear my mind to be ready for him tomorrow.”