by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Originally, the no.5 seed, Marcos Freitas is a former winner of the event when known as the Europe Top 12; in 2014 in Lausanne he beat Michael Maze in the final after the Dane had caused a semi-final upset by ousting Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
One year later in 2015 in Baku, once again Marcos Freitas reached the final, only on this occasion he had to settle for second place; in the capital city and commercial centre of Azerbaijan, Dimitrij Ovtcharov made no mistake, he claimed the top step of the podium.
Nevertheless, Marcos Freitas remains the only Portuguese player to have won the men’s title at either the Europe Top 16 or Europe Top 12 tournament; the hopes of the nation now rest in the capable hands of Tiago Apolonia, now the no.11 seed.
He made his debut in the tournament in 2011 in Liège when finishing in ninth place, Montreux will be his sixth venture in the competition, his best being a fifth place finish in 2015 in Baku. One year earlier in Lausanne he had concluded matters in eighth spot. Last year in Antibes as in 2016 in Gondomar, seventh place was his lot.
Notably, João Monteiro, the only other Portuguese player to gain a place on the tournament’s podium did not qualify for Montreux. He was the runner up in Gondomar in 2016
Marcos Freitas is replaced by Ukraine’s Kou Lei, a player who on debut last year gave a most impressive display in Antibes. He finished in fourth place.