Jakub DYJAS ended the European champion’s reignPhoto: Richard Kalosai
2016 LIEBHERR European Championships
Unlike the Women’s Singles the Men’s Event at the 2016 LIEBHERR European Championships was shattered with surprises. Most notable name that left the field earlier then his rankings predicted was the no. one seed Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany. The last year’s champion will left Budapest after only two games in singles. The man who was in charge for the biggest upset was Jakub DYJAS of Poland (13-11, 9-11, 11-4, 5-11, 8-11, 9-11).
Those two players meet twice before.
“Only in unofficial match at Donic tournament I was able to come close and lost by narrow margin 2:3; on official matches I did not have a chance ever. I lost against Dimitrij at the European Championships twice 0:4 and 0:3 in teams event.”
In addition, Jakub never managed to reach the second round of the European Championships before.
“Last year I did not passed the group stage and in Gdansk I lost in the first round against Robert GARDOS,” said Jakub currently ranked at the position no. 20 at the European rankings.
To beat OVTCHAROV, DYJAS realized he had to avoid being caught in adversaries’ web.
“I had to play my game. I did not think how he would play. I just tried to stay on my course. I could not afford easy mistakes and I had to be focused. At some point I lost the confidence to my service, but I did not panic,” said Jakub.
OVTCHAROV was calm.
“I have to accept that I will not be always the best player in the hall. At some point my dominance will stop. I am not in best of shape. It was not enough time to recover after Olympic Games. On top of all DYJAS was a better player today. Maybe we could have different scenario if I had won the second game. I had good opportunity there, I missed it and the match went on different direction,” said Dimitrij OVTCHAROV.
The long line of upsets started with the departure of the player ranked at the position no. 9 at the European rankings, Andrej GACINA of Croatia. Currently placed at the position no. 49 Anton KALBERG of Sweden beat the odds and succeeded to the third round. It was nerves wracking seven games duel (5-11,12-10,4-11,11-7,11-4,8-11,11-9).
“In crucial moments my service game prevailed,” explained KALBERG.
Europe’s no. 11 Panagiotis GIONIS of Greece also suffered by the hands of lower ranked player. Joao MONTEIRO, no. 21 (11-7,11-8,12-10,11-9) is safely through to the Round of 16.
He will join his compatriot Marcos FREITAS who beat another player from Germany Benedikt DUDA (11-6, 5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 6-11).
“DUDA improved his game in past few months. He is very good player, so I expected hard duel. Tomorrow will not be any easier. I have to meet the player who I know very well. I will play against Kristian KARLSSON, my teammate. We know each other very well,” explained FREITAS.
Another full seven games duel kept the spectators on the edge of their seats. Stefan FEGERL of Austria prevailed against Liam PITCHFORD of England (11-9, 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 10-12, 11-4). PITCHFORD recovered from the 3:0 in reverse, but FEGERL withstood his spirited comeback to seal the match in the decisive game.
“After third game Liam’s service game became more aggressive, so I had to change my plan and it did not work well. I tried to make the rallies longer and failed to succeed and then when I finally pushed him far from table the tactics started to work,” said FEGERL.