by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
They upset the order of merit by recording a three-one success in opposition to Portugal, the no.6 seeds; a team which had a very distinguished supporter.
Notably suitably dressed in the colours of red and green, Portugal had a most distinguished supporter.
Following the action intensely was Rosa Mota, the winner of the Women’s Marathon at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.
Austria seized the early advantage with Robert Gardos, one of the hardest working players on planet earth, overcoming Tiago Apolonia by the very narrowest of margins in a five games duel (11-6, 3-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9).
A tense full distance encounter, it was the same in the immediate ensuing contest but with the decision being in favour of Portugal. Marcos Freitas overcame Stefan Fegerl (11-7, 12-10, 6-11, 7-11, 11-9).
Matters level, the doubles proved crucial, crowned European champions in 2014, Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn beat Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro by the very narrowest of margins (6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10).
“We made a lot of mistakes in the doubles, we did not play with confidence; throughout the match we had to focus really hard to serve short. We were lucky today, Tiago and João, they are a good pair, in the fifth game we led 10-8, they recovered, then at 11-10, Danny played a great return of serve to win the match.” Robert Gardos
Man of the Moment
Ahead by two matches to one, cometh the hour, cometh the man; at the Liebherr 2015 European Championships in Ekaterinburg, time and again Stefan Fegerl had won the concluding match to seal victory.
In Rio de Janeiro he did it again, He beat João Monteiro in four games (9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9).
“It was nearly the same today as last year in Ekaterinburg; against João, I was under less pressure than him, we had won the doubles, we were ahead. I felt I could win the rallies, I felt confident with top spin to top spin from both backhand and forehand. It was a 50:50 match against Portugal, today we had the luck,”Stefan Fegerl.
An impressive conclusion to proceedings from Stefan Fegerl, it was the same from Bastian Steger in the contest that sealed a three-one success for the no.2 seeds against Chinese Taipei, the no.9 seeds.
Impressively he beat Chuang Chih-Yuan in three straight games (11-8, 11-9, 11-8), the Bastian Steger backhand more powerful than that of Rafael Nadal when using two hands.
Notably Bastian Steger did not play in the Men’s Singles event, the contest against Chinese Taipei was his first appearance in the tournament.
“It’s hard just playing in the team event, it’s a strange feeling; you practise but it’s not the same as a match. Here there is so much noise from the crowd, they start the wave and you really have to push yourself hard to concentrate. I am not complaining, the atmosphere here has been great. Today against Chuang Chih-Yuan I think he was a little down after losing to Quadri Aruna in the Men’s Singles; I won the first game, I think he became nervous and I was able to play my game.” Bastian Steger
Earlier Timo Boll had beaten Chen Chien-An (11-8, 10-12, 11-13, 11-5, 11-6) to give Germany the ideal start. Dimitrij Ovtcharov followed suit; he had accounted for Chuang hih-Yuan (11-6, 10-12, 11-13, 11-6, 11-6), before Chinese Taipei won the doubles. Chen Chien-An and Chiang Hung-Chieh beat Timo Boll and Bastian Steger in five games (9-11, 9-11, 14-12, 12-10, 11-7).
The quarter-final contest between Austria and Germany is scheduled for 3.00pm on Sunday 14th August.