by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
After accounting for the Czech Republic’s Stanislav Kucera (9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-4, 11-3) he beat the man in form; he overcame Jiri Martinko, also from the Czech Republic (11-4, 8-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8), the first round winner in opposition to Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the no.3 seed (12-10, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8).
“To tell the truth, it was the miracle that I beat Jiri. I saw Martinko crush Levenko today. I was like “Oh my God, am I supposed to beat him?” He caused me some big problems in this match; he produced great backhands, safe forehands and used intricate services. It’s just incredible that I’m the winner here, after all.” Rares Sipos after success against Jiri Martinko
Defeat for Andreas Levenko but not for the other celebrated names with Tomas Polansky setting the example. He overcame Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko (6-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7) followed by success against Hungary’s Csaba Andras (11-6, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8) to reserve his last four place.
“I can say quite confidently that I was stronger in this match. Andras did not surprise me, he did not do anything special; his strokes were weaker than mine, so I’m not surprised with my victory. I was a bit tired on the first day of the competition but I am back to rock now.” Tomas Polansky
Hard fought contests, it was the same for Cristian Pletea. He accounted for Slovenia’s Deni Kozul (11-6, 5-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3) prior to emerging successful in opposition to Ioannis Sgouropoulos of Greece (8-11, 11-7, 8-11,6-11, 11-4, 11-9, 12-10).
“It is a surprise for me that I have won this match. Sgouropoulos put so many balls on the table, his returns drove me mad. I mobilized myself and fought point by point, step by step.” Cristian Pletea after playing Ioannis Sgouropoulos
Likewise, Darko Jorgic was tested. He overcame Poland’s Marek Badowski (7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6) and Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica (11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5) to secure his place, as last year, in the last four.
At the semi-final stage Tomas Polansky meets Rares Sipos, Cristian Pletea opposes Darko Jorgic; play concludes in Minsk on Sunday 11th March.