by Ian Marshall Editor
Combining the attacking option with stalwart defence, Panagiotis Gionis, the no.14 seed, booked his place in the last eight of the men’s event by overcoming Sweden’s Mattias Falck, the no.2 seed, in six games (11-8, 12-14, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8).
A major upset, the biggest of the day; the seeding suggests that to be the scenario but history advises otherwise. The three prior meetings on the international stage have all ended in favour of Panagiotis Gionis; moreover, he clearly has a liking for continental tournaments.
In 2010 he beat Mattias Falck in the men’s singles event at the European Championships in Ostrava, five years later when the tournament was staged in Ekaterinburg, he repeated the feat in the men’s team competition, before most significantly he prevailed when the pair met in 2017 at the Europe Top 16 Cup in Antibes.
“I already beat him in three previous occasions and I knew what I have to do. He is one of the best players against attackers but against the players with the defensive style of play he is not that good. However, it was not easy. I was two-one down, so I had to change my service game and he became a little bit tired. I stayed focused and finished the match quickly.” Panagiotis Gionis
Success for Panagiotis Gionis contrary to seeding and contrary to history; for Natalia Partyka it was contrary to both! The no.15 seed, she beat Li Jie of the Netherlands, the no.4 seed, the silver medallist one year ago. In what was their seventh international meeting since the Liebherr 2010 World Team Championships in Moscow, it was the first time that Natalia Partyka had prevailed.
“I had nothing to lose and I played to enjoy the game. However, as the match progressed I felt I could beat her. My confidence grew. Even in the decisive game I played like it was the start of the match. I was pressure free.” Natalia Partyka
At the quarter-final stage Natalia Partyka meets Georgina Pota; for Panagiotis Gionis, the adversary is Vladimir Samsonov.
The matches will be conducted later in the day.