02 Feb 2019

Beaten at the quarter-final stage last September at the Liebherr 2018 European Championships in Alicante, one of the surprise results of the tournament, Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus extracted revenge in the Swiss city of Montreux on Saturday 2nd February.

In the opening round of the men’s event at the CCB 2019 Europe Top 16 Cup; the no.5 seed, he beat his Costa Brava nemesis, Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, the no.12 seed, in five games (11-3, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Success but for the now 42 year old, the success was hard earned; the contest closer than the end result may suggest; Ovidiu Ionescu proved a most determined adversary.

“In second game, I led 9-5 before he levelled to 10-10. In third I was 7-3 in the lead and I lost. Every game was close. It was the same in Alicante. I was in good shape then, like I am now but I guess today Ionescu was not at the same level. However, I always need some time to get into the game and I am extremely happy I won this encounter. It was a tough adversary for an opening round.” Vladimir Samsonov

Progress to the quarter-final round for Vladimir Samsonov, in the counterpart women’s event it was the same for Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova but with one notable difference; she upset the order of merit. The no.14 seed, she ended the hopes of Britt Eerland of the Netherlands, the no.8 seed; imposingly she succeeded in four straight games (11-9, 11-8, 16-14, 11-8).

“We know each other very well, so there was no secret about the tactics. For me it was important to constantly change the pace of the game and play safe; also to be prepared for when she served long.” Barbora Balazova

At the quarter-final stage Barbora Balazova faces Bernadette Szocs; for Vladimir Samsonov either Panagiotis Gionis of Greece or Sweden’s Mattias Falck await.

2019 Europe Top 16 Cup Vladimir Samsonov Britt Eerland Ovidiu Ionescu Barbora Balazova

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Day 2 - China Construction Bank 2019 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup