(by Steve Hopkins/Photo by ITTF)
With great teams across the continent, the 2019 European Games in Minsk packed a lot of action into its seven days. Men’s and Women’s Singles concluded on Wednesday, and Mixed Doubles concluded on Tuesday. The featured Men’s and Women’s Team events concluded on Saturday.
In Men’s Singles, Timo Boll entered as the top seed and was never pressed (with wins of 4-1, 4-0, 4-1, 4-1, and a title-sealing win of 4-2 in the final). Other top seeds fell early, with Pitchford falling to Gionis in the third round, Falck falling to Shibaev in the third round, and Ovtcharov falling to Groth in the fourth round. Ultimately it was down to Boll, Pucar, Groth, and Kou in the semis. Boll overcame Groth in the final, and Pucar won the Bronze medal match to claim third.
In Women’s Singles, it was Yu Fu of Portugal who finished first, Han Ying of Germany who took second, and Ni Xia Lian of Luxembourg who finished third. The biggest surprise here was Ni who upset the top seed, Bernadette Szocs in the fourth round 4-3 and has now secured a spot at the Tokyo Olympics at the age of 55 (she will be 57 when the games take place a little over a year from now). Mixed Doubles went to the Franziska/Solja team from German. Second went to Ionescu/Szocs from Romania and Lore/Glasnier of France took third.
In the Men’s Team event, the top two seeds Germany and Sweden advanced to the final – each after eliminating an underdog, as both Portugal and Denmark had advanced by upset. Germany eliminated Portugal 3-0 and Sweden eliminated Denmark 3-1. In the Women’s Team event, the final was between Germany and Romania. In their semifinal, top seeded Germany fell behind early (down 0-1 and down 1-2), but won the final two matches to seal a 3-1 win over Poland. Romania gave up a 2-0 early lead over Hungary in their semifinal, but held on to win 3-2.
German finished strong with 3-0 wins over Portugal and Sweden to take the gold medal in the Men’s Team event. In the German/Sweden final, Boll and Franziska won the opening doubles match over Karlsson and Persson. Ovtcharov then dispatched Mattias Falck 3-1. And the final win was notched by Patrick Franziska who defeated Jon Persson 3-2 to seal the win. It was Portugal over Denmark in the Bronze Medal match (3-1).
In the Women’s Team final, Germany topped Romania 3-0. Nina Mittelham and Shan Xiaona defeated Elizabeta Samara and Daniela Dodean in a tight 3-2 match. Han Ying then topped Bernadette Szocs 3-1, and Shan Xiaona sealed the victory with a 3-1 win over Daniela Dodean.
Check in with ButterflyOnline.com for updates during major tour events.