07 Sep 2019

The day belonged to Portugal; on Friday 6th September at the Liebherr 2019 European Team Championships in Nantes, semi-final places in both the men’s and women’s events were reserved; moreover on each occasion against the odds.

Occupying the no.10 seeded position; the men recorded a 3-1 win against Austria, the no.4 seeds; the success coming after the women, the no.7 seeds, had secured a dramatic 3-2 success in opposition to Germany, the no.2 seeds.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Major cause of the German defeat was Fu Yu, the player who just under three months ago at the European Games in Minsk had won the women’s singles title, the success coming after Germany had claimed women’s team gold.

In the second match of the engagement, she beat Petrissa Solja (10-12, 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6), before in the fourth contest accounting for Nina Mittelham (4-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8), a success that set the scene for Shao Jieni to be the heroine. She duly responded and in dramatic fashion; she recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Petrissa Solja (9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-6) to seal the victory.

Team effort

Success for the Portuguese women was followed by the same for their male counterparts but not in such a nail-biting manner.

A veritable team effort was the order of the day. Tiago Apolonia was beaten by Robert Gardos in the opening match of the fixture (13-11, 11-7, 11-6), immediately following Marcos Freitas accounted for Daniel Habesohn (11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7) to level matters. João Monteiro turned the tide in favour of Portugal. He overcame Stefan Fegerl (11-3, 11-1, 8-11, 11-3), before Tiago Apolonia prevailed against Daniel Habesohn (11-6, 11-4, 11-3) to seal the victory.

Varying fortunes

Quarter-final success in both disciplines for Portugal, for Poland and France it was mixed fortunes.

Can Akkuzu, Simon Gauzy and Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.3 seeds, brought the day to an end in a manner almost as intense as that witnessed by Portugal in the women’s team event. Facing Poland, the no.7 seeds, they recovered from a two matches to nil deficit to emerge successful.

Marek Badowski gave Poland the perfect start by beating Simon Gauzy (11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6), before Jakub Dyjas accounted for Emmanuel Lebesson (11-8, 9-11,9-11, 13-11, 11-7) to double the advantage. Enter Can Akkuzu, he ignited the French recovery. He beat Maciej Kubik (11-5, 12-10, 17-15), prior to Simon Gauzy overcoming Jakub Dyjas (11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7) and Emmanuel Lebesson sending their supporters home in delight by defeating Marek Badowski (11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 14-12).

Different verdicts

The win for France came after in the women’s team event, the French trio formed by Laura Gasnier, Marie Migot and Audrey Zarif, the no.8 seeds, had experienced a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the top seeds, Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, Bernadette Szocs and Daniela Monteiro-Dodean.

Defeat for France, conversely for Poland’s Natalia Bajor, Li Qian and Natalia Parytka, the no.11 seeds, it was a the opposite verdict; a 3-1 win was the outcome when facing the no.4 seeds, the Netherlands combination of Britt Eerland, Li Jie and Kim Vermaas. Mainstay of the victory was Li Qian; she beat both Britt Eerland (11-9, 11-6, 11-7) and Li Jie (11-8, 11-5, 15-13).

Georgina Pota

Impressive from Li Qian, it was the same from Georgina Pota. Supported by Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, she proved the backbone of a 3-2 win for Hungary, the no.3 seeds, against Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko, Ganna Gaponova and Margaryta Pesotska.

Maintaining her nerve, in the opening match of the contest she beat Margaryta Pesotska by the very narrowest of decisions (6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 16-14), prior to overcoming Ganna Gaponova (11-8, 14-12, 11-9) in the vital fifth and concluding match of the fixture. The one further win for the Hungarians was secured in the third match when Dora Madarasz beat Ganna Gaponova (11-2, 13-11, 11-6).

Comprehensive wins

Victories by narrow decisions, rather differently in the men’s team event for Germany and Sweden, the margin of success was clear cut.

Germany, the top seeds, fielding Timo Boll, Patrick Franziska and Dimitrij Ovtcharov recorded a 3-0 win against the no.5 seeds, Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic, Deni Kozul and Bojan Tokic; by the same margin, the no.2 seeds, Sweden overcame the no.9 seeds, the English combination of Paul Drinkhall, Liam Pitchford and Sam Walker.

At the semi-final stage of the men’s team event Germany faces France, Portugal opposes Sweden; in the women’s competition it is Romania versus Poland, Hungary against Portugal. The fixtures will be played on Saturday 7th September.

2019 ITTF European Team Championships Portugal

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Practice Day - 2019 ITTF-European Championships