03 Feb 2018

Success came the way of Germany as the opening round of the Men’s Singles event at the China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup in Montreux came to a close on Saturday3rd April.

Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Timo Boll, the respective top two seeds, emerged successful but the player to attract the attention was colleague, Bastian Steger, he upset the odds to reserve his quarter-final place.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

The no.10 seed, he recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Frenchman, Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.6 seed and reigning European champion (6-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9, 11-4).

“It was a very difficult match. It is always hard to play against Lebesson, it is hard to find a rhythm. I was a little disappointed when I lost the second game, I had chances. However I was much better with my return of service from the third game onwards and took the control over the match.” Bastian Steger

Impressive from Bastian Steger, he set the tone; Timo Boll followed suit by overcoming Austria’s Stefan Fegerl, the no.13 seed (11-7, 13-11, 11-4, 11-8), prior to Dimitrij Ovtcharov ending the hopes of the host nation by defeating Lionel Weber, the no.16 seed (11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5).

“It was not that easy. It looks like that, maybe because he forced me to play at my top level. I could not afford easy mistakes; he is my club mate in Düsseldorf. He was a very hard adversary.” Timo Boll

“I was focused from the beginning. It was nice to play against Lionel but now I am focused on the forthcoming duel against Gionis. It has been a while since I played him. I have to prepare well for that match.” Dimitrij Ovtcharov

Progress for Dimitrij Ovtcharov as anticipated; as the first round of the Women’s Singles event came to a conclusion, somewhat similarly there were wins as expected for Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Austria’s Sofia Polcanova.

Bernadette Szocs, the no.8 seed, beat Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko, the no.16 seed (11-4, 11-6, 14-12, 11-9), likewise Matilda Ekholm, the no.5 seed proved secure against defence, she ended the hopes of Viktoria Pavlovich of Belarus, the no.10 seed (11.5, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6).

“I was well prepared for this match. I have played a lot against defenders in my training centre in Germany. I feel comfortable now playing against such style.” Bernadette Szocs

“I was ready. I spent four years in same club with Tetyana Bilenko so I know how to set the tactics. I tried to play strong top spins and keep the ball low.” Matilda Ekholm

Efficient performances, it was the same from Sofia Polcanova, the no.2 seed; she defeated Rachel Moret, the no.14 seed, to end the hopes of the host nation (11-6, 11-4, 11-8, 12-14, 11-6).

“Rachel played very well. I had to be very aggressive from the beginning and prevent her of finding her rhythm. I was in control until the third game. After that I was a little bit passive with my service and let her come back. Luckily I had a better approach in fourth game.” Sofia Polcanova

The quarter-finals will be played later in the evening.

2018 Europe Top 16 Timo Boll Dimitrij Ovtcharov Bastian Steger

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Day 2 - China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup