by Simon Daish
Doubles Finals Shrouded in Unpredictability
Just one match remains in both the Men’s and Women’s Doubles competitions, as the final two pairs from each category are set to battle it out for the titles.
Poland’s Jakub Dyjas and Daniel Gorak booked their place in the Men’s Doubles final after their 4-2 triumph over Tiago Apolonia (POR) and Joao Geraldo (POR) in the semi-finals, and will be hoping for a similar outcome against fellow finalists Patrick Franziska (GER) and Jonathan Groth (DEN) who beat Kristian Karlsson (SWE) and Mattias Karlsson (SWE) in their previous match.
The Women’s Doubles tournament is guaranteed to deliver both the gold and silver medals to Germany, with both of the partnerships participating in the final representing the country. Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja (second seeds) may head into the final as slight favourites for the win when taking into consideration their seeding advantage over Kristin Silbereisen and Sabine Winter (seventh seeds), however, if these Championships have taught us anything it has to be to never rule out the possibility of an upset.
Déjà vu for Women’s Singles Final?
Elizabeta Samara (ROU) caused a major shock at the 2015 European Championships with her successful Women’s Singles campaign resulting in her claiming the trophy, and one year later in Budapest the dream of defending that title is still very much alive.
Li Jie (NED) was the silver medallist last year and just like Samara, Li will take part in the last four of the 2016 competition but in the opposite half of the draw. If Li is able to negotiate the number six seed Hu Melek (TUR) and Samara holds up her side of the bargain and defeats the lower ranked Yu Fu (POR), then a repeat of the 2015 final between Li Jie and Elizabeta Samara could very well take place at the 2016 Championships.
New Champion on the Horizon?
Three out of the four competitors that are left standing in the Men’s Singles have never taken home the category’s top prize on offer at a previous European Championships, so could we see the Budapest competition crown a new European Men’s Singles champion?
Jakub Dyjas (POL) has been one of the standout performers at the 2016 Championships with victories over the likes of top seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) and 16th seed Kou Lei (UKR); Dyjas (seeded 19th) faces France’s Emmanuel Lebesson (15th) in his semi-finals encounter, while the only previous champion in the category and the highest seeded player remaining in the event Timo Boll (GER) will meet Simon Gauzy (FRA) in the other match.
Liebherr 2016 European Championships: Watch live on Laola 1.TV