by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
At the quarter-final stage of proceedings, Slovenia beat Sweden by three matches to two; the architect of the victory was the irrepressible Bojan Tokic, the hero of the hour was the rather more reserved Darko Jorgic.
Bojan Tokic, all guns blazing, gave his team the perfect start by beating Anton Källberg (11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 11-4). Immediately Sweden responded, Mattias Karlsson accounted for Darko Jorgic (11-6, 11-7, 11-4) before Kristian Karlsson overcame Deni Kozul (11-4, 12-10, 11-9) to give the Scandinavians the advantage.
Ready for the challenge, Bojan Tokic entered the arena, in straight games he beat Mattias Karlsson (11-8, 11-5, 11-6) to set the scene for Darko Jorgic to secure the victory; the 19 year old responded, he overcame the more experienced Pär Gerell in four games (11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6) to send Slovenian supporters into seventh heaven.
“We were always far from the top division at the European Championships; we always played in the lower divisions; this is huge success for us. The way we achieved this makes me even more proud. It did not come easy and we did not have a lucky draw. In our group we had two former champions Austria and Portugal. It has been tremendous journey so far. It was fantastic that we qualified for the quarter-finals.” Bojan Tokic
In the penultimate round, Slovenia face Germany who showed not a hint of charity in overcoming Ukraine; a three-nil victory margin was the outcome.
Timo Boll beat Kou Lei (11-7, 11-8, 11-5), Dimitrij Ovtcharov accounted for Viktor Yefimov (11-5, 11-6, 11-9), before Ruwen Filus overcame Yevhen Pryschepa (11-7, 11-9, 11-7) to bring matters to a conclusion.
“My match against Kou Lei looks like an execution, but in some parts of the match I didn’t play well, I had a good start, Kou Lei is a strong player, if you let him play he is dangerous. Fortunately, I was able to control the match.” Timo Boll
In the opposite half of the draw France meets Greece, Croatia opposes Portugal; the fixtures will be contested later in the day.