25 Apr 2021

Seeded 37th for the women’s singles draw, Polina Trifonova has been one of the outstanding performers at the European Olympic Singles Qualification Tournament in Guimarães with a host of shock victories throughout the five-day event.

On the morning of Sunday 25th April, the Bulgarian moved one step closer to dreamland with a ticket to Tokyo 2020 now within reach.

by Simon Daish

Taking on Luxembourg’s Sarah De Nutte, a player seeded 30 positions higher and the clear favourite heading into the match, Trifonova wasn’t at all fazed by the prospect, indeed she relished the challenge. Just five games required to seal another monumental win (11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8), Trifonova is now just one win away from securing her qualification against all the odds!

Another upset win for Polina Trifonova but the three remaining quarter-finals in the women’s singles draw all panned out according to seeding.

Barbora Balazova, no.2 seed, made her intentions known to the rest of the playing field with the Slovakian eliminating Portuguese no.4 seed Shao Jieni in five games (11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10), while Sibel Altinkaya’s wonderful run drew to a close with Russian no.3 seed Yana Noskova proving one step too far for the Turkish competitor (11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6).

The match between Spain’s Maria Xiao and Sweden’s Christina Källberg proved a closer contest, but again it was victory for the higher seeded player as sixth seed Xiao accounted for her 26th seeded opponent by a 4-2 margin (11-3, 11-3, 11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 11-9).

Over in the men’s singles event, the one major surprise came courtesy of Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu who showed top seed Daniel Habesohn the exit in the last 16.

A dramatic tie from the start, Habesohn actually opened the head-to-head looking the stronger with games one and two going in the Austrian’s favour. However, sixth seed Ionescu refused to let his head drop and was rewarded for his determination with a staggering 4-3 win (3-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-1, 11-7).

Great Britain still has interest in the draw with Paul Drinkhall securing his place in the final four – the no.5 seed negotiated his meeting with Luxembourg’s Eric Glod in straight games (11-8, 12-10, 11-8, 11-6) to set up a high stakes showdown with Ionescu in the qualification play-off round.

Panagiotis Gionis and Pavel Sirucek will compete for the other ticket to Tokyo after coming through their respective quarter-final fixtures: Greek no.3 seed Gionis made his experience count against his 20-year-old opponent from Romania, Rares Sipos (11-6, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5), while Czech Republic’s Sirucek, no.2 seed, saw off Italy’s Mihai Bobocica (11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10).

Draw & Results

General News Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Paul Drinkhall Panagiotis Gionis Ovidiu Ionescu Barbora Balazova Yana Noskova Maria Xiao Pavel Sirucek Polina Trifonova

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