by Simon Daish
Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) entered the competition not only as the defending champion but also as the top seed for the category, which makes his exit even more dramatic when you take into account that Jakub Dyjas (POL) is seeded 19th.
The two previous meetings between Ovtcharov and Dyjas had ended in straight games defeats for the Polish player, however, the wonderful aspect of sport is that every so often the odds are beaten and that was very much the case in this match as Dyjas put in a remarkable performance to seal his spot in the last 16.
“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 in my service but I did not panic” – Jakub Dyjas (Poland).
Eighth seed Andrej Gacina (CRO) also made an early exit from the competition with his 3-4 loss to Swedish opponent Anton Kallberg (41st), while the 2015 runner up Marcos Freitas almost lost out to Benedikt Duda (GER), who is seeded over 30 places below the Portuguese competitor in the seeding list.
Meanwhile there were impressive showings from Simon Gauzy (FRA) and Benedek Olah (FIN), who saw off Joao Geraldo (POR) and Bojan Tokic (SLO) respectively.
The story of the day from the Women’s Singles tournament has to surely be Liu Jia’s unexpected exit to Kristin Silbereisen in their last 32 encounter.
Liu (AUT) was seeded 15 place higher than Silbereisen (GER) for the category, but yet again it was the lower ranked player who prevailed and in a dominant fashion I might add.
Rather to the amazement of Liu the opening three ends went in the direction of her opponent, and while the Austrian was able to pull a game back there was only one player who looked likely to take the win as Silbereisen got the job done with a victory in game five.
“I had beaten Liu Jia a few times when I was much younger, seven or eight years ago but after that, seven times in the row she has beaten me… I knew this was going to be a tough encounter; I practiced to win short rallies. I know she would not let me play long points” – Kristin Silbereisen (Germany).
Another former Women’s Singles champion also lost her match in the Round of 32, with Li Fen (SWE) falling to Maria Dolgikh (RUS) in the deciding game, while Hu Melek (TUR), Li Jie (NED) and top seed Han Ying (GER) all advanced to the next stage.
Joao Monteiro (POR) and Daniela Monteiro-Dodean (ROU) have won the first trophy of the 2016 European Championships, after the married couple teamed up to beat Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson and Matilda Ekholm.
The title looked set to be going in the other direction when Montiero and Monteiro-Dodean fell 0-2 down in the final, but a terrific comeback followed as the cross-nation combination succeeded 3-2.
Number one seeds from Russia Polina Mikahilova and Maria Dolgikh were on the wrong end of a surprise result in the Women’s Doubles with Sarah De Nutte (LUX) and Ni Xialian (LUX) moving into the quarter-finals, and the Portuguese combination of Tiago Apolonia and Joao Geraldo survived an exit scare with a closely fought seven games victory over Aleksandar Karakasevic (SRB) and Bojan Tokic (SLO).
Liebherr 2016 European Championships: Watch live on Laola 1.TV
Friday 21st October: Men’s Singles – Main Draw
Friday 21st October: Women’s Singles – Main Draw
Friday 21st October: Mixed Doubles – Main Draw
Friday 21st October: Women’s Doubles – Main Draw
Friday 21st October: Men’s Doubles – Main Draw