19 Sep 2021

Conducted over a two day period, Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Nina Mittelham won the respective men’s and women’s titles at the 2021 Pomegranate Europe Top 16 Cup staged in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, on Sunday 19th September.

Both were somewhat unexpected winners, Patrick Franziska commenced play the no.3 seed, Nina Mittelham, the no.5 seed.

by Ian Marshall

Safely through to the semi-final stage; on the concluding day, Patrick Franziska accounted for Sweden’s Mattias Falck, the top seed (11-8, 11-8, 13-11, 6-11, 9-11, 11-8), before overcoming Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the no.5 seed (12-10, 11-8, 11-6, 11-13, 11-5) to secure the title.

In the adjacent half of the draw, Marcos Freitas ended the progress of Frenchman, Emmanuel Lebesson, the no.13 seed (11-6, 12-10, 13-11, 11-6).

Meanwhile, in the women’s event, in the penultimate round Nina Mittelham accounted for the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova, the no.9 seed (11-2, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8), before securing the title by overcoming Portugal’s Fu Yu, the no.11 seed (11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 14-12).

Success for Nina Mittelham (Photo: ETTU)


Earlier, at the semi-final stage, Fu Yu had caused a major upset by defeating Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, the no.2 seed and winner in 2018 in Montreux.

Three in succession

It is the first time either Patrick Franziska or Nina Mittelham have secured the precious titles; notably it is the third year in a row when German players have won both titles.

Staged in Montreux, Dimitrij Ovtcharov won the men’s event in 2019, Timo Boll in 2020; on both occasions the women’s singles title finished in the hands of Petrissa Solja.

Only two previous German winners

Patrick Franziska becomes the 24 player to win the men’s title since the tournament was first staged in Zadar, Germany has now secured the top prize 13 times but from that country there have only been two previous winners.

Timo Boll won seven times (2002, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2018, 2020); Dimitrij Ovtcharov on five occasions (2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019).

Seventh German representative

Meanwhile, Nina Mittelham becomes the 28th player to win the women’s singles title; if we include Olga Nemes, who won in 1989 when representing West Germany, it is the 10th time the nation has secured the crown, Nina Mittelham being the seventh German.

Additional to Olga Nemes, German winners are Jie Schöpp (1994, 2003), Nicole Struse (2004), Petrissa Solja (2019, 2020), Qianhong Gotsch (1999, 2000) and Wu Jiaduo (2012).

General News Pomegranate 2021 Europe Top 16 Cup