22 Sep 2018

Earlier in the year on Friday 1st June they caused a sensation, one of the biggest upsets of the current century and that of the previous; at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Kaisa China Open in the city of Shenzhen, at the semi-final stage of proceedings, never previously partners, they beat the host nation’s Ma Long and Xu Xin, the 2011 World champions; in the eyes of many the best pair on planet earth.

In Alicante, at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Doubles event at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships on Saturday 22nd February, there was to be no such repeat; the combination of Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Spain’s Alvaro Robles experienced defeat. Not only did their personal hopes come to an end, so did those of the host nation, Alvaro Robles was their last remaining hope.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The no.7 seeds, Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles suffered a six games reverse; they were beaten by the defending champions, the top seeded partnership formed by Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth (11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5).

Success for Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth; now does that make them the best pair in the world, having beaten the pair who beat the best pair?

Victory as predicted it was the same in the remaining Men’s Doubles quarter-final contests; the partnerships with the higher credentials prevailed.

The finalists in 2012 in Herning, when Austria’s Robert Gardos and Daniel Habeshon beat Sweden’s Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson, both emerged successful. Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson, the no.2 seeds, beat the French combination of Simon Gauzy and Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.8 seeds (11-9, 11-7, 3-11, 11-8, 11-5); Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn, the no.4 seeds, ended the hopes and aspirations of Russia’s Kirill Skachkov and Alexander Shibaev, the no.13 seeds (15-13, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8).

Meanwhile, in the one remaining Men’s Doubles quarter-final contest; Germany’s Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther, the no.3 seeds, overcame the partnership formed by England’s Sam Walker and Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen (11-5, 11-3, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6), a pair whose journey had started in the qualification tournament.

At the semi-final stage Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth meet Daniel Habesohn and Robert Gardos, in the opposite half of the draw Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther confront Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson; the matches are scheduled for later in the day in the evening session of play.

2018 Liebherr European Championships Alvaro Robles Ovidiu Ionescu

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