by Ian Marshall, Editor
Conversely, in the women’s singles, only one top-four name progressed, that of Petrissa Solja, the no.2 seed and also from Germany. In the penultimate round she lines up alongside colleague Shan Xiaona, the no.9 seed, Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the no.6 seed and Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska, the no.7 seed.
In the men’s singles, it proved to be the German duo who experienced the most testing times.
Timo Boll needed the full seven games to beat colleague Benedikt Duda, the no.15 seed (11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5), in doing so booking his semi-final reservation, where rather more comfortably he ousted Düsseldorf club colleague Anton Källberg, the no.21 seed (12-10, 15-17, 11-8, 11-8, 16-14).
Similarly, after recording a six games win against Kristian Karlsson, like Anton Källberg from Sweden and the no.9 seed (5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6), Dimitrij Ovtcharov was severely examined. He was required to recover from a 5-1 deficit in the deciding seventh game against Czech Republic qualifier Lubomir Jancarik (11-7, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8).
All-star semi-final cast
At the semi-final stage Timo Boll meets Mattias Falck, Dimitrij Ovtcharov confronts Marcos Freitas.
Mattias Falck accounted for Romanian qualifier, Hunor Szocs (8-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-4, 11-4, 12-10), prior to adding more pain to the Swedish cause by defeating Jon Persson, the no.16 seed (11-2, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6).
Likewise, Marcos Freitas caused Sweden problems. He accounted for qualifier Truls Möregard (11-2, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8), before defeating Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, the no.25 seed (5-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6), who toppled Germany’s Patrick Franziska, the no.4 seed (11-8, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9) earlier in the day.
Margaryta Pesotska in form
Good form from Marcos Freitas, it was even better form in the women’s singles from Margaryta Pesotska. After overcoming Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian, the no.10 seed (11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8), she recorded one of the day’s biggest upsets, she ousted Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the top seed (11-4, 15-17, 11-7, 11-8, 15-13).
In the penultimate round Margaryta Pesotska meets Shan Xiaona, Petrissa Solja opposes Elizabeta Samara.
Shan Xiaona booked her semi-final place by overcoming Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte, the no.18 seed (11-4, 11-5, 11-5, 11-5) and Sweden’s Linda Bergström, the no.22 seed (10-12, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8).
Hard fought success, it was even harder for Petrissa Solja, at the quarter-final stage she escaped from the jaws of defeat in the sixth game against the host nation’s Natalia Bajor, the no.25 seed (16-18, 8-11, 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 11-9), prior to defeating Portugal’s Fu Yu, the no.14 seed (11-6, 13-11, 11-2, 8-11, 13-15, 2-11, 11-4).
Likewise, there were testing times for Elizabeta Samara. She needed six games to overcome Swedish qualifier Christina Källberg (11-2, 11-6, 6-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8), before halting the progress of a further qualifier, Germany’s Sabine Winter (7-11, 11-7, 13-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-4). One round earlier, Sabine Winter had beaten colleague Han Ying, the no.3 seed (11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10).
Medals assured for Germany in both the men’s singles and women’s singles, in the women’s doubles, the colours are established, gold and silver.
At the final hurdle Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja, the no.16 seeds, meet colleagues Nina Mittelham and Sabine Winter, the no.15 seeds.
Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja booked their place in the title decider, recording a quarter-final win against Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte and Ni Xialian, the no.6 seeds (11-13, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5), before overcoming the French combination of Stéphanie Loueillette and Yuan Ji Nan, the no.3 seeds (7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6).
Competent performances from Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja – for Nina Mittelham and Sabine Winter, life was even more straightforward.
They received a walk-over at the quarter-final stage when due to face Britt Eerland of the Netherlands and Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the 19 seeds, Britt Eerland being forced to withdraw through injury. At the semi-final stage, they ended the hopes of Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko and Ganna Gaponova, the no.10 seeds (10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8).
No full house
Unexpected pairs through to the women’s doubles final, it is no different in the men’s doubles, the pair above all to attract the attention being Russia’s Maksim Grebnev and Lev Katsman.
The no.18 seeds, they caused a major quarter-final upset by ousting Benedikt Duda and Qiu Dang, the top seeds (7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9), thus negating the policy of Germany completing a clean sweep of titles.
Confidence high the good form continued, in the penultimate round they accounted for Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, the no.3 seeds (9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7).
In the final they meet another partnership who commenced play as relative outsiders; they oppose the combination of the host nation’s Jakub Dyjas and Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck, the no.6 seeds.
Somewhat significantly, they showed themselves more than a match for Russian opposition. They beat Vladimir Sidorenko and Kirill Skachkov, the no.12 seeds (11-8, 9-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4), prior to ending the hopes of Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro, the no.8 seeds (11-8, 11-6, 11-5).
Play concludes on Sunday 27th June, the winners of the men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s doubles titles being decided.
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/