Tournaments

26 Jun 2019

Germany’s Timo Boll and Portugal’s Fu Yu won the respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles at the Minsk 2019 2nd European Games on the evening of Wednesday 26th June.

Moreover, alongside Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar, Germany’s Han Ying and Luxembourg’s Ni Xia Lian, they reserved places in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

At the final hurdle, Timo Boll, the top seed, beat Jonathan Groth, the no.10 seed (6-11, 12-10, 12-14, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4), after having in the penultimate round ousted Tomislav Pucar (11-4, 11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 11-4).

“Physically I was not 100 per cent fit; mentally and tactically everything was perfect. It was a strange match because I had to change my style; I had to play very passive, very slow. It was a good schooling for the future; I might change some things in my game and add some new weapons. However, today it worked. It was also important that I could try something different that will work my way. Groth has the game to beat me, he already did it in the semi-final of the Champions League and do not forget he beat Ovtcharov in the round of 16, so he is in very good shape here. I had a cramp this morning, so I was a little bit worried. We have a good medical team here and I hope I will manage until the end. It is very hard tournament.” Timo Boll

“He proved once again that he could change his style in the middle of a match and win. He is a true champion. I started better, won opening game and went ahead 9-4 in second. Then, Timo changed his service game. I could not find the answers for his service anymore.” Jonathan Groth

Jonathan Groth, Tokyo place reserved (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

Defeat for Tomislav Pucar but in the bronze medal match it was success, he accounted for Ukraine’s Kou Lei, the no.33 seed (11-2, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-2).

“Both of us were very tired; that is why the key points were on the service and return game. In that department I was much better. We could not rely on long rallies. I am so happy I will play in my first Olympic Games. I was at the Youth Olympic Games but this is ultimate dream in our sport.” Tomislav Pucar

One round earlier, Kou Lei had experienced defeat at the hands of Jonathan Groth (13-11, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10).

Bronze for Tomislav Pucar (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

Success for Timo Boll, followed success for Fu Yu, the no.8 seed in the women’s singles event. After overcoming Luxembourg’s Ni Xia Lian, the no.15 seed, at the semi-final stage (11-6, 11-5, 5-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8), she secured the title at the expense of Han Ying, the no.13 seed (11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7).

“I was calm. We have played against each other five or six times before and I knew what to do. Previously I rushed into mistakes, now I did not let it happen. I waited for her errors. I am so happy I reach the Olympics again.”

A day to remember for Fu Yu (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

Disappointment for Han Ying, who at the semi-final stage had emerged successful by the very narrowest of margins when facing Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin, the no.25 seed (7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9).

“It is hard when you lose the final match but in a week or two I am sure I will be happy for the medal and the place at the Olympic Games. If only this match could have been played tomorrow; I was so tired after the semi-final against Yang Xiaoxin. It was a very hard match and my legs were shaky in the final. I was tired and could not play at my best.” Han Ying

Adrenalin flows, Han Ying beats Yang Xiaoxin (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

Gold for Fu Yu, silver for Han Ying, it was bronze for Ni Xia Lian; she beat Yang Xiaoxin, the no.25 seed (11-3, 3-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8) in the third place contest.

“It was never as important as it was today. In 2004, I was in the top eight in the world; it came easy that time. However, now I have to fight very hard; if today I had not succeeded I don’t think there is any other way I could have qualified. The system is so difficult; that is why I fought so hard. Today, when I lost third game against Yang Xiaoxin after being 10-6 up it hurt so much. Oh how it hurt! Yang is very dangerous. I had to study her game but even that sometimes did not help; that’s why I am so excited now.” Ni Xia Lian

Success for Ni Xia Lian, at 56 years of the most senior player in the tournament; her pen-hold blocking style of play once again proving most effective whilst being one that conserves energy.

“The key ingredient is love. I have a family who supports me and loves me. My 88 years old mother, two children, siblings, they all support; also I have Luxembourg Federation, Olympic Committee, all of them supporting me. They are all there for me and they support me. They are devoted to this sport, otherwise I could not succeed. Young generations work so hard and they are better and better; I only get older.” Ni Xia Lian

Ni Xia Lian, Olympic Games bound for the fifth time in her career (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

Attention now turns to the men’s team and women’s team events; play concludes in Minsk on Saturday 29th June.

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: Quotes of the Day (Tuesday 25th June)
Minsk 2019 2nd European Games: Quotes of the Day (Wednesday 26th June)

Results

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

Information

Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Qualification Procedure
Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Schedule of Play

Seeding

Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Seeding – Men’s Singles
Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Seeding – Women’s Singles
Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Seeding – Mixed Doubles

Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Special Team Ranking Men (December 2018)
Minsk 2019 European Games – Table Tennis: Special Team Ranking Women (December 2018)

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2019 European Games Timo Boll Jonathan Groth Han Ying Tomislav Pucar Fu Yu Ni Xia Lian
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