by Simon Daish
Competing at the event for the fifth occasion, Panagiotis Gionis is hoping to replicate his successful campaign from three years ago in Baku, Azerbaijan where he achieved a third place finish but wants to wait until the draw has been made before evaluating his chances in Switzerland.
“My goal at the Top 16 is, as always, to reach the semi-finals! Of course, the draw plays an important role. Ovtcharov and Boll are number one and number three respectively on the World Ranking list. We have to see the draw first, before we start talking about my odds. I had a very good result in Baku, but after that in last two years I did not make the appearances I was expecting.” Panagiotis Gionis
Since his impressive performance at the 2015 edition of the competition Gionis has failed to negotiate the first round, finishing ninth in 2016 and 2017 when the tournament was hosted in Gondomar and Antibes respectively.
Many of the continent’s strongest table tennis players will be on display in Montreux with the top three seeded positions being occupied by Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Timo Boll and Simon Gauzy.
Seeded 14th, Gionis enters the event as somewhat of an underdog but the Greek competitor, who celebrated his 38th birthday in January, believes that he can still provide a challenge for the rest of the player field and is hoping to see a couple of upsets at the weekend.
“I think Ovtcharov is undoubtedly the favourite in Montreux because he is in the great shape and mentally very strong. Of course, Timo Boll is one of the most stable players and this year he has shown that he is in excellent shape already. He is like the good old wine. From there on, however, all players are capable of playing at the highest level, but also not untouchable. I wish for the Top 16 Cup to be an event of surprises!” Panagiotis Gionis