by Simon Daish
Arguably the comeback of the 2016 European Championships so far in Budapest has to go to the host nation’s Georgina Pota, who came to within a whisker of making an opening match exit.
England’s Tin-Tin Ho was Georgina Pota’s opponent in the Round of 64 and with the Hungarian being seeded over 50 places higher than Tin-Tin Ho, the expectancy from the home crowd was to see their player comfortably move into the next round.
However, Tin-Tin Ho sent the spectators into a state of shock when she raced into a 0-3 lead in the tie, only requiring one more game win to complete an almighty upset. But Georgina Pota kept up the fight and took four games in a row to save herself from an early elimination.
“I always have difficulties in the opening matches. I could have finished earlier, I lost the third game after I had 10-8. Thanks to the spectators, they gave me extra strength to come back in the match” – Georgina Pota (Hungary).
Another high profile player to almost suffer an unexpected defeat was Elizabeta Samara (ROU), after the reigning European champion was forced to come from 1-3 behind to win 4-3 against Aneta Maksuit (SRB).
The top three seeds Han Ying, Petrissa Solja and Shan Xiaona, who each represent Germany, all sealed their places in the last 32 as did Hu Melek (TUR), Li Fen (SWE) and Li Jie (NED).
Romania’s Hunor Szocs (46th) picked up one the standout wins of day three, when he overcame the fifth seed Tiago Apolonia (POR) 4-2.
Apolonia actually made a pretty decent start to the tie by taking the opening game, but by the conclusion of the fourth end it was Szocs who held a 3-1 lead. Suddenly the match became tense and neither player was able to pull away from the other but eventually Szocs found his way to the win, eliminating Apolonia in the process.
Alongside Tiago Apolonia’s shock defeat, two other high profile names came close to sharing the same fate as Panagiotis Gionis (GRE) and Jonathan Groth (DEN) both needed seven ends to win their matches. Gionis was involved in a tough encounter with Darko Jorgic (SLO), while Groth stole his victory in the final game after deuce against Tomislav Pucar (CRO).
Elsewhere in the Men’s Singles draw the defending champion Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) had too much for Marc Duran (ESP), Emmanuel Lebesson (FRA) won in straight games over Robin Devos (BEL), and Aliaksandr Khanin (BLR) continued his fine run at the Championships with a comeback win against Tomas Konecny (CZE).
Swedish duo Par Gerell and Anton Kallberg chipped in with a fantastic triumph over former winners Robert Gardos (AUT) and Daniel Habesohn (AUT) in the Men’s Doubles category, and the Women’s Doubles saw Stephanie Loeuillette and her partner Oceane Guisnel, who both represent France, eliminate Austria’s Sofia Polcanova and Li Qiangbing in six ends.
Yet one of the stories of the day has to be the husband and wife team of Joao Monteiro (POR) and Daniela Monteiro-Dodean (ROU), who emerged victorious over Spanish players Jesus Cantero and Maria Xiao to guarantee themselves a medal finish.
Liebherr 2016 European Championships: Watch live on Laola 1.TV
Thursday 20th October: Women’s Singles – Main Draw
Thursday 20th October: Men’s Singles – Main Draw
Thursday 20th October: Men’s Doubles – Main Draw
Thursday 20th October: Women’s Doubles – Main Draw
Thursday 20th October: Mixed Doubles – Main Draw