by Ian Marshall, Editor
In the men’s team event Germany, Portugal, Denmark and Sweden booked penultimate round places, in the counterpart women’s competition so did Germany, Poland, Hungary and Romania.
Undoubtedly the performance of the day was that achieved in the men’s event by the no.12 seeds, the Danish combination of Jonathan Groth, Anders Lind and Tobias Rasmussen. In their opening contest they recorded a 3-2 win against the no.6 seeds, Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic, Deni Kozul and Bojan Tokic, before at the quarter-final stage, securing a 3-1 success in opposition to the no.3 seeds, Austria’s Stefan Fegerl, Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn.
On a high since finishing one day earlier the men’s singles silver medallist, Jonathan Groth maintained his form to the emerge the pivotal player. Against Slovenia he beat Bojan Tokic (11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8) and Deni Kozul (11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5); facing Austria, he accounted for Stefan Fegerl (11-8, 11-4, 11-0) and Daniel Habesohn (11-8, 11-6, 11-9).
Excelling expectations, it was the same from the no.9 seeds, the Portuguese outfit comprising Tiago Apolonia, Marcos Freitas and João Monteiro. They recorded a 3-1 win in the opening round against the no.5 seeds, the French selection comprising Can Akkuzu, Simon Gauzy and Emmanuel Lebesson, prior to securing the same margin of victory in opposition to no.4 seeds, Great Britain’s Paul Drinkhall, Liam Pichford and Sam Walker.
Very much key to the victories were good starts, bronze medallists at the recent Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest, Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro provided the base on which the house was build. Against Slovenia they recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Can Akkuzu and Emmanuel Lebesson (7-11, 6-11, 11-5, 15-13, 11-8), facing Great Britain they accounted for Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford, the reigning Commonwealth Games champions (11-7, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8).
In the penultimate round Portugal faces the top seeded German outfit comprising Timo Boll, Patrick Franziska and Dimitrij Ovtcharov; for Denmark, the second seeded line-up of Sweden’s Mattias Falck, Kristian Karlsson and Jon Persson awaits.
Most impressively, the German trio posted a 3-0 win when facing the no.11 seeds, Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, Cristian Pletea and Hunor Szocs; in a much closer contest, the Swedes ended the hopes of the no.7 seeds, Croatia’s Frane Kojic, Andrej Gacina and Tomislav Pucar.
Man of the moment for Sweden was Mattias Falck, he accounted for Tomislav Pucar in the second match of the engagement (4-11, 11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8) and in the vital fifth and deciding contest, Andrej Gacina (9-11, 11-3, 12-10, 11-6).
Meanwhile, in the women’s team event the progress of Germany, Hungary and Romania was as anticipated; the surprise was Poland.
Germany, the top seeds, represented by Han Ying, Nina Mittelham and Petrissa Solja, recorded a 3-1 win against the Netherlands, the no.5 seeds, who fielded the trio comprising Britt Eerland, Li Jie and Kim Vermaas.
In a somewhat similar manner, the no.3 seeds, the Hungarian combination of Dora Madarasz, Szandra Pergel and Georgina Pota, claimed a 3-0 success against the no.6 seeds, Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko, Ganna Gaponova and Margaryta Pesotska.
Imposing performances, with Nadia Comaneci, famous for the her perfect 10 marks in the gymnastic events at the 1976 Montreal and 1980 Olympic Games, Romania’s Daniela Dodean, Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs, the no.2 seeds, were not to be denied. They secured a 3-1 win when facing the no.10 seeds, Sweden’s Filippa Bergand, Linda Bergström and Matilda Ekholm.
Semi-final places as anticipated; conversely Poland, the no.5 seeds, represented by Li Qian, Natalia Bajor and Natalia Partyka upset the odds. After recording a 3-0 win against the no.11 seeds, the Russian combination of Polina Mikhailova, Yana Noskova and Olga Vorobeva; they maintained their form to end the hopes of the no.4 seeds, Austria’s Liu Jia, Sofia Polcanova and Amelie Solja.
Star of the show was Natalia Bajor, she partnered Natalia Partyka to doubles success against Liu Jia and Amelie Solja (11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5), prior to accounting for Sofia Polcanova (14-12, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7) to register an overall 3-1 team win. The one further Polish success was secured by Li Qian against Sofia Polcanova (11-5, 13-11, 13-11), the one success for Austria by Liu Jia; in the third match of the engagement she accounted for Natalia Partyka (12-10, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9).
At the semi-final stage, Germany meets Poland, Romania opposes Hungary. The semi-finals in both the men’s team and women’s team events will be played on Friday 28th June.
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