by Simon Daish
The top seeded duo experienced defeat in their head-to-head encounter with Germany’s Petrissa Solja and Shan Xiaona, no.16 seeds, who needed just three of the five games to complete the upset (11-4, 11-7, 11-4).
Success for the German pair who now go on to meet Luxembourg’s Ni Xia Lian and Sarah De Nutte following their Round of 16 exploits. Facing the Hungarian combination of Szandra Pergel and Leila Imre, no.8 seeds Ni and De Nutte produced a highly professional display to come out on top across four games (11-2, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5).
“We are happy with our performance – we played some really good rallies and it’s always fun to play doubles with Xia Lian. We are looking forward to tomorrow.” Sarah De Nutte
Russia’s Lev Katsman and Maksim Grebnev were amongst the standout performers in the last 16 of the men’s doubles event as they stunned Sweden’s Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson. No.18 seeds Katsman and Grebnev snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, fighting back from two games down to eliminate seventh seeds Falck and Karlsson from the race (10-12, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5).
Two-time champions and searching for a third title as a pair in Warsaw, Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn have taken another step closer to making that goal a reality after securing their place in the quarter-finals.
Recovering from a slow start, the Austrian duo, seeded fifth, were far more comfortable in the following three games and Italian opponents Niagol Stoyanov and Mihai Bobocica simply couldn’t contend from that moment on (10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5).
“We’re trying to defend our title. In the beginning we were leading but lost the first game with a good lead, so we had a bit of tension but we were always controlling the game. I think we were the better players and had good tactics prepared.” Daniel Habesohn
Experiencing bitter disappointment earlier in the session, Barbora Balazova made amends in the mixed doubles semi-finals as she and fellow Slovak Lubomir Pistej claimed a five-game victory over French qualifiers Simon Gauzy and Prithika Pavade (11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-4).
The other semi-final resulted in German success and with it, the end of French hopes as Qiu Dang and Nina Mittelham edged past Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan by the narrowest of margins in the decider (14-12, 11-7, 4-11, 5-11, 13-11). Qiu and Mittelham will face Pistej and Balazova for the title at 21:00 (local time) this evening.
For more information regarding the Liebherr 2020 ITTF European Championships visit the official tournament website at https://www.ettu.org/en/events/ittf-european-individual-championships-/general-information/