30 Dec 2018

A seventh time, on Sunday 23rd September Germany’s Timo Boll won the Men’s Singles title at the Liebherr 2018 European Championships in Alicante; a quite incredible record, it puts him four ahead of his nearest rivals, Sweden’s Mikael Appelgren and Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, each succeeded on three occasions.

However, in the east coast Spanish resort, Timo Boll was not necessarily the man of the moment; that accolade was bestowed on Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Timo Boll started proceedings as the top seed, he justified the status by emerging the champion; conversely, Ovidiu Ionescu began proceedings as the no.25 seed; he defied the odds.

Furthermore, en route to the final, he beat two former winners of the prestigious title. Following an opening round success against Ewout Oostwouder of the Netherlands, he beat the defending champion, Frenchman Emmanuel Lebesson, before ousting Denmark’s Jonathan Groth and Vladimir Samsonov. A place in the penultimate round reserved, the good form continued, he accounted for Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson to secure his place in the final.

The success achieved by Ovidiu Ionescu meant that he became only the second ever Romanian to reach the final of a Men’s Singles event at a European Championships; the one other was Radu Negulescu in 1960 in Zagreb, he was beaten in the final by the Hungary’s Zoltan Berczik.

Success for Timo Boll meant that a German player had secured the title for the tenth time; notably nine being this century! Dimitrij Ovtcharov emerged victorious in Schwechat in 2013, before completing a successful defence in 2015 in Ekaterinburg. The one other German to succeed is Jörg Rosskopf, he prevailed in 1992 in Stuttgart.

A tenth time for Germany, in the Women’s Singles event, it was a watershed. Li Qian won the Women’s Singles title beating Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska in the final and thus won the first ever gold medal for Poland in any event at a European Championships.

Cause for Polish celebrations but overall it was Germany that had the greatest reason to rejoice. In addition, Ruwen Filus and Han Ying won the Mixed Doubles event, Kristin Lang and Nina Mittelham emerged as Women’s Doubles winners. Furthermore, the Men’s Doubles title finished in the hands of German speakers, Austria’s Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn secured the top step of the podium.

2018 Review of Year Timo Boll Ovidiu Ionescu