by Simon Daish
The European continent’s finest table tennis stars travelled to Montreux, Switzerland at the beginning of the month for the China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup and as anticipated there was plenty of drama to be witnessed across both days at the Salle Omnisport du Pierrier venue.
2017 Women’s Singles runner up Petrissa Solja made a swift exit from the competition, losing out to Hungary’s Georgina Pota in the opening round of the competition but it was Bernadette Szocs who stole the show in Montreux; the Romanian negotiated three matches without dropping a game to reach the final where she accounted for 2017 champion Li Jie in the decider.
Timo Boll emerged successful in the Men’s Singles draw, toppling fellow German Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the final while the bronze medal went to Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, who enjoyed one of the strongest performances of his career at the tournament.
Now for a test of your table tennis knowledge with the Pongcast question of the month:
How many times has Timo Boll won the ITTF Europe Top 16?
Comment your answer on the Pongcast post via the ITTF Facebook page and share the video for a chance to win a piece of gear from Nittaku.
The English capital of London was the host city for the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup, an event which proved to be most profitable for Team China.
Brazil and Korea Republic earned shock victories over Hong Kong and Germany in the group stage of the Men’s Team competition while the host nation England also put in a commendable display, achieving a bronze medal finish thanks in part to an incredible outing at the Copper Box Arena from Liam Pitchford. However, it was China who came away with the title following a top draw performances from Ma Long, Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong against Japan in the final.
There was also a big surprise in the Women’s Team event as DPR Korea pulled off a sensational quarter-finals upset against fourth seeds Chinese Taipei, but again the ultimate honour fell to China as Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling combined to defeat top seeds Japan by a 3-0 scoreline.
Michael Maze is returning to the international stage once again, bringing his two-year spell of retirement to an end. The Danish star announced the news via his official social media pages in February and is raring to get back into action.
Watch the Nittaku ITTF Monthly Pongcast video below for February’s biggest news stories: