Tournaments

09 Feb 2020

Aiming for a record seventh win, Germany’s Timo Boll remained on course as did colleague, Petrissa Solja, the defending champion, alongside Austria’s Sofia Polcanova but they were very much the exception on the opening day of play, Saturday 8th February, at the CCB 2020 Europe Top 16 tournament in Montreux, Switzerland.

Austria’s Robert Gardos, Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar and Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic emerged surprise men’s semi-finalists; in the women’s event, Britt Eerland of the Netherlands and Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska raised eyebrows.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In the men’s event, illness forced Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.2 seed and defending champion, to withdraw; the exit provided an opportunity for Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar; the no.11 seed, he seized his chance. He beat Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.7 seed and winner in 2014 in Lausanne (4-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 16-14, 14-12)

At the semi-final stage, Tomislav Pucar meets Darko Jorgic, the no.14 seed. Against the odds, the 21 year old Slovenian beat four times champion, Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.6 seed (8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-7, 12-10), prior to ousting Slovakia’s Wang Yang in a fifth game that brought back memories of previous century (11-7, 11-8, 12-10, 6-11, 22-20). Notably in the opening round, Wang Yang had ousted Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no.4 seed (8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-7, 12-10).

Austrian in form

Surprise semi-finalist, in the opposite half of the draw the number was limited to just one; the man to upset pecking order, Austria’s Robert Gardos, the player to advance as anticipated, Timo Boll.

Robert Gardos, the no.12 seed, caused upset after upset; the 41 year old accounted for Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.8 seed (11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-6), before ending the aspirations of Sweden’s Mattias Falck, the top seed (11-8, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8).

Mattias Falck beaten by Robert Gardos (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

Impressive from Robert Gardos, it was very much the same from Timo Boll. He overcame Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson, the no.9 seed (8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4, 12-10), before England’s Liam Pitchford, the no.9 seed, found the 38 year old too hot to handle; a straight games defeat was the verdict (11-4, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7).

Lesser extent

Upsets in the men’s singles event, it was the same in the women’s but to a slightly lesser extent; the players to excel expectations being Britt Eerland of the Netherlands, the no.10 seed and Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska, the no.7 seed.

Britt Eerland beat Romania’s Bernadette Szocs the no.3 seed and defending champion (9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7), before overcoming Luxembourg’s Ni Xia Lian, the no.9 seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-4, 11-13, 11-6).

Wins contrary to expectations for Britt Eerland but never in a situation where she was in imminent danger of defeat; it was rather different for Margaryta Pesotska.

Margaryta Pesotska responded when crisis loomed (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

After recording an opening round success against Dora Madarasz, the no.15 seed and Hungarian heroine last month at the 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification tournament in Gondomar (11-4, 11-9, 11-13, 9-11, 11-4, 12-10), facing Germany’s Han Ying, the no.4 seed in the quarter-finals, she was in danger. In the vital seventh game she trailed 3-7, she surrendered just one more point (16-18, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 11-13, 11-8).

Penultimate round

In the penultimate round Britt Eerland faces Sofia Polcanova, Margaryta Pesotska confronts Petrissa Solja.

Sofia Polcanova reserved her semi-final place courtesy of success against the host nation’s Rachel Moret, the no.16 seed (6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5) and Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova, the no.12 seed (11-5, 11-9, 15-13, 13-11). Similarly, Petrissa Solja overcame Poland’s Natalia Partyka, the no.13 seed (11-7, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6), followed by success in opposition to Romania’s Elizabeta Samara (11-9, 116, 13-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9).

Sunday 9th February – Men’s Singles: Semi-Finals (seeded positions in brackets)

  • 11.25 Robert Gardos Austria (12) v Timo Boll Germany (3)
    12.15 Darko Jorgic Slovenia (14) v Tomislav Pucar Croatia (11)

Sunday 9th February – Women’s Singles: Semi-Finals (seeded positions in brackets)

  • 09.45 Sofia Polcanova Austria (1) v Britt Eerland Netherlands (10)
    10.35 Margaryta Pesotska Ukraine (7) v Petrissa Solja Germany (2)

The semi-finals will be followed by the third place matches and finals.

2020 ITTF Europe Top 16 Timo Boll Petrissa Solja Sofia Polcanova Darko Jorgic Robert Gardos Tomislav Pucar Britt Eerland Margaryta Pesotska
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Day 2 - 2020 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup