21 Oct 2016

Integral to Polish success, on duty earlier this year at both the Perfect World Team Championships and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games but never beyond the second round of the Men’s Singles event at a European Championships; Jakub Dyjas caused the biggest upset to date at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The no.19 seed, on the evening of Friday 21st October, he beat Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the top seed and defending champion to advance into unchartered waters.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

It was celebration time for Jakub Dyjas and it was a double celebration; earlier in the month, on Sunday 9th October, he had marked his 21st birthday.

“Last year, I did not pass the group stage. 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”, Jakub Dyjas

Success for Jakub Dyjas but he was not the only player to upset the order of merit as the second round of the Men’s Singles event advanced.

“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 the better player today. Maybe it would have been a different scenario if I had won the second game. I had good opportunity, I missed it and the match went on different direction,” Dimitrij Ovtcharov

Qualifier Anton Källberg accounted for Croatia’s Andrej Gacina, the no.8 seed, in tense seven games encounter decided by the very narrowest of margins (5-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9).

Success against the odds in a full distance seven games duel for Anton Källberg; it was the same for Austria’s Robert Gardos, the no.21 seed. He staved off a brave recovery by England’s Paul Drinkhall in the contest that brought the fourth day of action to a conclusion (12-10, 11-3, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-8).

“In crucial moments my service game prevailed”, Anton Källberg

A determined effort from Robert Gardos, earlier in the evening it had been the same from Finland’s Benedek Olah. The no.32 seed, he beat Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic, the no.14 seed (13-11, 11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10).

Impressive, it was even more impressive from Portugal’s João Monteiro, the no.20 seed, he was not to be left out of the party; he overcame Panagiotis Gionis of Greece, the no.10 seed (11-7, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9).

Success for Portugal; there was more success for the Iberian Peninsula country but it was hard fought success. Marcos Freitas, the no.3 seed, needed to full seven games to beat German qualifier, Benedikt Duda (6-11, 11-5, 11-9, 10-12, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6).

“Duda has improved his game in past few months. He is very good player, so I expected hard duel”,  Marcos Freitas

A third round place for Marcos Freitas as status advised; other than for Dimitrij Ovtcharov, it was the same for the leading names.

Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.2 seed, beat Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson, the no.17 seed (11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9); Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.4 seed, also caused Sweden heartaches by beating Pär Gerell, the no.18 seed (11-8, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7), whilst Simon Gauzy of France, the no.6 seed, ended the hopes of João Monteiro’s colleague, João Geraldo, the no.31 seed (14-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 11-6).

Wins for Vladimir Samsonov, Timo Boll and Simon Gauzy without the need for a deciding game; it was not the scenario for Austria’s Stefan Fegerl, the no.7 seed, who like colleague Robert Gardos caused England pain. He beat Liam Pitchford, the no.22 seed (11-9, 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 10-12, 11-4).

“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”, Stefan Fegerl

The third round and quarter-finals of the Men’s Singles event will be played on Saturday 22nd October.

Liebherr EC Dimitrij Ovtcharov Jakub Dyjas