by Ian Marshall, Editor
Defeat for Dimitrij Ovtcharov means that only three of the top eight seeds booked quarter-final places and that number will be reduced even more when the semi-finalists are decided.
In the round of the last eight, Germany’s Timo Boll, the top seed, meets the host nation’s Vladimir Samsonov, the no.5 seed; in the fourth round Timo Boll beat Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.11 seed (11-7, 13-11, 11-8, 11-7), Vladimir Samsonov accounted for Russia’s Kirill Skachkov (8-11, 11-4, 16-18, 11-4, 11-7, 13-11).
Facing the winner of the contest will be either Frenchman Emmanuel Lebesson or Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar. Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.9 seed, booked his last eight place courtesy of success in opposition to Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson, the no.8 seed (11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 12-14, 11-5); Tomislav Pucar, the no.12 seed, ended the hopes of Panagiotis Gionis of Greece (8-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8). Meanwhile for Jonathan Groth, Slovakia’s Wang Yang, the round four winner in opposition to Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic (7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8) awaits.
Surprise names to reach the quarter-finals but arguably the biggest surprise name is that of Ukraine’s Kou Lei; out of action in recent months owing to a tennis elbow injury, he maintained his form to end the adventures of Russia’s Aleksandar Shibaev (11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8). Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck awaits in the quarter-finals; the no.14 seed, he brought the day to an end by overcoming Croatia’s Andrej Gacina, a contest that reflected the whole tournament. He prevailed by the very minimal two point margin in the deciding seventh game (11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 3-11, 13-11).
Major surprises in the fourth round of the men’s singles event; earlier in the day at the same stage of the women’s singles competition, the surprises had been major upsets, the leading three names departed.
Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, the top seed, was beaten by Ni Xia Lian, the no.15 seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7), Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.2 seed, lost to Germany’s Han Ying, the no.13 seed (12-10, 13-11, 13-11, 11-8). Similarly, Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm, the no.3 seed, experienced defeat when facing Russia’s Polina Mikhailova (11-5, 11-13, 9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8).
Shocks, not to be left out and balancing the books for Sweden, Linda Bergström accounted for Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.6 seed (11-5, 13-15, 15-13, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5), to add the lists of surprises.
The effect is of the leading names remaining in the women’s singles event, Germany’s Petrissa Solja, the no.4 seed, heads the order. Winner earlier this year of the CCB Europe Top 16 tournament, she booked her last eight place courtesy of success against Poland’s Li Qian, the no.7 seed and reigning European champion (12-14, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5).
Success as expected for Petrissa Solja, it was somewhat the same for Portugal’s Fu Yu, Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin and Li Jie of the Netherlands. In round four Fu Yu, the no.8 seed, beat Ukraine’s Ganna Gaponova (11-3, 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7), Yang Xiaoxin overcame the host nation’s Viktoria Pavlovich (12-10, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7); Li Jie, the no.7 seed and runner up four years ago, ended the hopes of Portugal’s Shao Jieni (9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10, 13-15, 11-5, 11-7).
At the quarter-final stage, in the top half of the draw Ni Xia Lian faces Linda Bergström, Fu Yu opposes Petrissa Solja. In the opposite half, it is Polina Mikhailova versus Yang Xiaoxin, Li Jie in opposition to Han Ying.
Meanwhile, in the mixed doubles event, matters proceeded very much according to status. At the quarter-final stage, Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova, the top seeds, beat Spain’s Alvaro Robles and Galia Dvorak, the no.7 seeds (11-7, 14-12, 11-5). They now meet Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja, the no.3 seeds and quarter-final winners in opposition to Italy’s Niagol Stoyanov and Giorgia Piccolin (11-2, 11-4, 11-6).
Impressive from Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja, it was the same from Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Bernadette Szocs, the no.6 seeds; they ousted Russia’s Aleksandar Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova (11-3, 11-7, 11-8). Awaiting in the penultimate round is the French partnership formed by Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier; they ensured progress courtesy of success against the host country’s Pavel Platonov and Nadezhda Bogdanova (11-4, 7-11, 11-6, 12-14, 11-4).
A full day beckons on Tuesday 24th June; the mixed doubles will be played to a conclusion, the quarter-finals in both the men’s singles and women’s singles events will be enacted.
Quotes of the Day
Minsk 2019 2nd European Games: Quotes of the Day (Saturday 22nd June)
Minsk 2019 2nd European Games: Quotes of the Day (Sunday 23rd June)
Minsk 2019 2nd European Games: Quotes of the Day (Monday 24th June)
Minsk 2019 2nd European Games – Table Tennis: Latest Results