by Ian Marshall, Editor
In terms of wins, the players he has beaten in the past month, nobody can match Liam Pitchford; he put two players, who have occupied top spot on the world rankings in the past year, to the sword.
Contrary to all expectations in Bulgaria, he beat China’s Ma Long; then the following week in the Czech Republic he overcame Dimitrij Ovtcharov, twice European champion and the no.2 seed in Alicante.
Success against Dimitrij Ovtcharov; the player against whom Marcos Freitas has a debt to settle, he was beaten by the German in the European final three years in Ekaterinburg. At the recent Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Czech Open, Marcos Freitas finished in runners up spot, proving the nemesis of Japan. He accounted for Yuki Hirano, Maharu Yoshimura and Tomokazu Harimoto, the player who in the second round had beaten Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus and Germany’s Patrick Franziska.
In Alicante, Patrick Franziska is the no.5 seed, Vladimir Samsonov, three times the winner, is the no.9 seed.
Impressive wins against adversaries from the Land of the Rising Sun but also note the name of the player Marcos Freitas beat in the round prior to ousting Tomokazu Harimoto; at the quarter-final stage he accounted for Austria’s Daniel Habesohn.
The 32 year old may not have hit the headlines in the same manner as Marcos Freitas and Liam Pitchford but in August he proved the model of consistency; the previous week in Bulgaria, he accounted for Denmark’s Jonathan Groth and Japan’s Masataka Morizono, before in the Czech Republic ending the hopes of Sweden’s Mattias Falck and Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko. In two consecutive tournaments he reached the last eight.
At the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships, in the Men’s Singles event, Jonathan Groth is the no.6 seed, Mattias Falck is the no.7 seed; Daniel Habesohn is the no.13 seed.
Can Marcos Freitas and Daniel Habesohn become the first players from Portugal and Austria to win the Men’s Singles title at a European Championships? Equally, can Liam Pitchford match one of the most remarkable wins ever?
In 1980 in Berne, compatriot John Hilton won the Men’s Singles title, in the later rounds he mesmerised Wilfried Lieck, representing West Germany at the time, followed by successes against the Hungarian duo of Tibor Kreiz and Gabor Gergely, prior to overcoming Frenchman Jacques Secretin and the Czech Republic’s Jozef Dvoracek to seal the title.
He won at odds of 1,000 to 1; what odds almost four decades later? If you can acquire the same this year for Liam Pitchford, it’s worth the odd Euro!