07 Feb 2017

Very much outsiders, not listed amongst the leading partnerships when the seeding was decided at the start of play; the partnership formed Denmark’s Anders Lind and the Slovak Republic’s Alexander Valuch won the Men’s Doubles title at the Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships in Sochi, Russia on Sunday 5th February.

Surprise winners, it was only the second time they had even been partners; notably, on the first occasion they had not proved that successful.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In January at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open in Budapest they were beaten in the first preliminary round of the Men’s Doubles event by Sweden’s Harald Andersson and Simon Arvidsson.

Furthermore, it was a fate they nearly experienced the same fate in Sochi!

In the first round, they were required to recover from a two games to one deficit against Italy’s Daniele Pinto and Carlo Rossi, eventually succeeding by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game (11-9, 7-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9).

Later they experienced similar problems when confronting the Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky and David Reitspies.

The outcome was not quite so dramatic in the final game as had been witnessed in the first round but they had to recover from a two games to nil deficit to secure their place in the penultimate round (8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-6).

Close contests, on the concluding day of action, there were no such moments of anguish; straight games successes were the order proceedings.

Impressively, they beat Sweden’s Simon Berglund and Anton Källberg (11-9, 11-5, 11-9), before recording a similar margin of victory in the final against the combination of Hungary’s Bence Majoros and Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar, the no.,2 seeds (11-8, 11-5, 11-6).

In the counterpart semi-final, Bence Majoros and Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar had accounted for Adam Sudi and Nandor Ecseki, both like Bence Majoros from Hungary (11-8, 11-9, 11-8).

“The final and semi-final were comparatively easy. On our way to the last day we struggled a lot against Polansky and Reitspies of Czech Republic. In the final, we did not make any easy mistakes and we were focused. It is first time that we played against them in doubles but we knew their game from the singles”, Alexander Valuch reflecting on the success

“We had a really bad start at the Hungarian open. We concluded our journey there in the qualifications; that is why we did not have high expectations here. We controlled the game in the final by playing fast. I was very positive. I knew we would win”, Anders Lind following the final

“We started to attack them from the beginning. We took full control over the match and we kept the game at the same, high level until the end. We were very calm, quiet and focused”, Bence Majoros, following the semi-final win

Day Four: Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships

Photos: Alex Lomaev – Butterfly

Latest results: Stag European Under 21 Championships.

Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships Bence Majoros Tomislav Pucar Anders Lind Alexander Valuch