by Ian Marshall, Editor
Competing against his club colleague, both represent the Russian club TTC Fakel Gazprom, Dimitrij Ovtcharov trailed 8-10 in the seventh game before winning four points in a row to seal success.
“The game had so many ups and downs for both of us. I could have finished four-one but I missed the opportunity. Samsonov was always there, he looked for every chance to come back; he covered every angle and every spot on the table. Vladi had the advantage in the sixth game and even bigger in seventh but no matter how tired I was, I thought he was even more, so I kept pushing. It was a similar match like against Boll, small points made big differences. I am so happy I came back from injury and few heavy defeats.” Dimitrij Ovtcharov
The win means that it is the fifth time he has secured the title and puts him one ahead of Vladimir Samsonov, who fell so agonizingly close of winning the title in three different decades. He won in 1998 in Halmstad, the following year in Split before succeeding in 2001 in Wels and 2007 in Arezzo.
Meanwhile, Dimitrij Ovtcharov now appears in third place on the all-time list behind Sweden’s Jan-Ove Waldner with seven wins and colleague Timo Boll with six such successes.
Notably the win recorded by Dimitrij Ovtcharov ended a sequence of defeats on the international stage against Vladimir Samsonov; at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and last year at the Liebherr 2018 European Championships, on both occasions in six games, the verdict had gone in favour of the man from Belarus.
Success for Dimitrij Ovtcharov, in the immediately preceding match in the men’s singles event there had been success for colleague Timo Boll; in a hard fought contest, Timo Boll, the top seed, prevailed in seven games in opposition to Austria’s Daniel Habesohn, the no.11 seed (11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-5).
“I had an advantage that I finished my semi final match hour or two before Daniel. Also, I was mentally stronger today.” Timo Boll
Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Vladimir Samsonov and Timo Boll now qualify for the ITTF Men’s World Cup to be staged later in the year in the Chinese city of Chengdu.