22 Jun 2019

Bronze medallist four years ago in Baku somewhat contrary to expectations and thus a place secured in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Kou Lei once again upset the order of merit as play commenced at the Minsk 2019 2nd European Games.

In his opening contest on the evening of Saturday 22nd June, he beat Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu in six games (11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Presently Kou Lei is listed at no.88 on the men’s world rankings; Ovidiu Ionescu is named at no. 50.

However that is not salient factor; Kou Lei has been sidelined in recent times suffering from tennis elbow; his best result in the past 18 months being a quarter-final finish at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Polish Open. It is very different for Ovidiu Ionescu; last September he was the runner up in the men’s singles event at the Liebherr 2018 European Championships; less than two months ago, partnering Spain’s Alvaro Robles, he was a men’s doubles silver medallist at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships.

Unexpected success for Kou Lei, followed unexpected success for colleague Yevhen Pryshchepa (Photo: Rémy Gros)


Success for Kou Lei on what was to prove a good day for Ukraine but not for the Czech Republic. Earlier in the proceedings Yevhen Pryshchepa had caused an upset by overcoming Lubomir Jancarik (11-8, 12-10, 11-9, 4-11, 14-16, 11-8); later in the evening Ioannis Sgouropoulos of Greece ended the hopes of Pavel Sirucek (11-9, 14-12, 14-12, 8-11, 2-11, 11-9). Currently on the men’s world rankings, Yevhen Pryshchepa is named at no.136, Lubomir Jancarik at no.73; Ioannis Sgouropoulos is at no.234, Pavel Sirecek at no.58.

Equally, for the host nation there was disappointment, Pavel Platonov was beaten by Great Britain’s Sam Walker (13-11, 12-10, 5-11, 8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-6); defeat in the men’s singles event for Belarus but in the women’s singles competition life was very different.

Sam Walker ended the hopes of Pavel Platonov (Photo: Rémy Gros)


Presently listed at no.96 on the women’s world rankings, in the second round of proceedings, Nadezhda Bogdanova accounted for the Czech Republic’s Dana Cechova, named at no.85 on the listings (11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 13-11, 12-10). A win contrary to status, it was the same for colleague Viktoria Pavlovich, world ranked no.126; she proved as secure as ever in defence to overcome Spain’s Maria Xiao, presently the holder of the no.66 spot (7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9).

A surprise outcome; I would suggest only a technical upset. Viktoria Pavlovich could well appear in the later stages. In both 2010 in Ostrava and 2012 in Herning she won the women’s singles title at the European Championships.

The defensive skills of Victoria Pavlovich rock solid (Photo: Rémy Gros)


Perhaps not an unexpected outcome, however the wins recorded in the women’s singles event by Turkey’s Ozge Yilmaz, Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin and Belgium’s Nathalie Marchetti were not to be predicted.

Ranked no.177, Ozge Yilmaz beat Italy’s Debora Vivarelli, listed at no.86 (11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10); Giorgia Piccolin, standing at no.103, overcame Slovenia’s Alex Galic, named at no.73 (11-8, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4). Similarly, Nathalie Marchetti ended the hopes of Hungary’s Szandra Pergel in one of the day’s biggest upsets (6-11, 8-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9).

Nathalie Marchetti caused a major upset by beating Szandra Pergel (Photo: Rémy Gros)


Play continues on Sunday 23rd June when the opening round of the mixed doubles event will be staged. In addition the third round of each of the men’s singles and women’s singles competitions will be held; the round in which the top 16 seeds enter proceedings.

Quotes of the Day

Minsk 2019 2nd European Games: Quotes of the Day (Saturday 22nd June)


Minsk 2019 2nd European Games – Table Tennis: Latest Results


Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Qualification Procedure
Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Schedule of Play
Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Special Team Ranking Men (December 2018)
Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Special Team Ranking Women (December 2018)

2019 European Games Kou Lei

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