2015 European Championships: Successful Conclusion for Former Champion but Result Points to Exit Door
Courtesy of ITTF
Close calls were the order of the day as matters concluded in the initial phase of the Men’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2015 ITTF-European Championships in Ekaterinburg on Thursday October 1st; the player to suffer the greatest heartache being Denmark’s Michael Maze, the champion in Stuttgart in 2009.
In his concluding group stage match he beat Poland’s Patryk Zatowka in four games (8-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-9); it was a result which meant three players were level on both match ratio and games ratio.
One day earlier, Patryk Zatowka had accounted for Italy’s Marco Rech-Daldosso in four games (11-5, 11-3, 12-14, 17-15), before the latter had beaten Michael Maze by a similar margin (11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8).
Points ratio was the deciding factor; it was first place for Patryk Zatowka (91:80), second place for Marco Rech-Daldosso (77:81) and third spot for Michael Maze (73:80).
Quite incredibly it was a blank sheet for Aleksandar Karakasevic, the highest rated player in the whole of the first stage; he was beaten by Marco Rech Daldosso (5-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10). If the Serbian had won that match, Michael Maze would have been in first place in the group!
First place in for Patryk Zatowka by a narrow margin; it was also first place for England’s Sam Walker in tense circumstances.
Listed at no.199 on the current Men’s World Rankings, he needed to cause an upset by beating Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, named at no.104, in four games or better to top the group. He duly obliged, he beat the Romanian in four games (11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 11-5).
One day earlier, Sam Walker had lost to Israel’s Shimon Rabinovich in five games (11-5, 12-10, 8-11, 12-14, 11-9); later Ovidiu Ionescu had recorded a five games win over Shimon Rabinovich (8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6).
Three players level on match ratio; games ratio decided the outcome.
It was first place for Sam Walker (5:4) with Shimon Rabinovich second (5:5) and Ovidiu Ionescu who had entered the concluding match unbeaten, in third spot (4:5).
“My confidence has been low this year, I’ve not had the best of results”, explained Sam Walker. “In the Men’s Team event here in Ekaterinburg I lost to Lauric Jean, three-nil in the match against Belgium and three-nil to Marco Rech-Daldosso when we played Italy.”
However, there were signs of a return to form against Shimon Rabinovich despite defeat.
“I lost the first two games against Shimon but then came back, so I felt that was a positive”, added Sam Walker. “Sure I was well aware of the fact that I needed to win three-one against Ovidiu but I tried not to think of that and focus on my game and be positive.”
A positive approach, it reaped dividends; for Sam Walker a place in the main draw.
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September 25 – October 4, 2015
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