by Simon Daish
Prior to the last four Slovenia had caused major upsets, achieving victories against the likes of Austria and Sweden and surprising spectators at the d’Coque Arena with some truly magnificent performances. Today, the team of Bojan Tokic, Darko Jorgic and Jan Zibrat came close to registering another giant shock, pushing Germany to the limit.
Gasps filled the hall right from the beginning of the fixture as Darko Jorgic stunned World No.4 Dimitrij Ovtcharov, who was suffering with stomach problems (11-13, 6-11, 11-6, 8-11). All of a sudden, questions were being asked as to whether another shock Slovenia result was on the cards.
“The first match was unbelievable for me, I said to myself: just play and fight. So after the first game, I saw I could win so I fought more and more. I think he was a little bit nervous after he lost the first game, but he didn’t show that to me, he just played. We had good tactics, and I won the match. I didn’t have pressure, let’s just say I gave my best and I tried to win”, Darko Jorgic.
After witnessing an early defeat, Germany needed an experienced head to take to the table: step forward Timo Boll.
Having played in his fair share of major competitions over the course of his career, Timo Boll is used to delivering strong results under pressure and a positive showing against Bojan Tokic (11-5, 11-7, 11-4) restored an air of calm for the German team.
“I am very satisfied with my game. I was confident and I moved very well. I am fit and when I am in shape like this it is really hard for anyone to beat me!”, Timo Boll.
Patrick Franziska then put Germany ahead for the first time in the match following his successful outing against Jan Zibrat (11-3, 11-6, 11-8), but Slovenia’s dreams of reaching the final were given a significant boost after German player Ruwen Filus suffered a defeat to Bojan Tokic (11-8, 13-15, 10-12, 8-11).
Slovenia had proved on multiple occasions that it was a team not to be underestimated and the sheer fact that Germany had been pushed right down to the wire further demonstrated the unpredictability surrounding the conclusion of the tie.
However, there was to be no shock finale to the match as Timo Boll completed his brace, condemning Darko Jorgic to a straight games defeat (11-9, 11-3, 11-5) to keep Germany’s title hopes in play.
Over in the Men’s Challenge Division there were promising displays from Denmark and Turkey as both sides prevailed by 3-1 scorelines in the last four.
Jonathan Groth was very much the star player for the Danish squad, registering a brace of victories against Belgian opposition while Li Ahmet achieved a similar feat in the other semi-final as Turkey proved too strong for Hungary.
The two countries which will meet in the final encounter of the Men’s Standard Division are Bosnia and Herzegovina and Azerbaijan, following successful outings against Montenegro and Scotland.