EURO TOP 16 Update: Ovtcharov, Samsonov, Gauzy all Out Early
(by Steve Hopkins, photo courtesy of ITTF World)
Only the first round has been played and there are already surprises at the CCB 2020 Europe Top 16 Cup in Montreaux, Switzerland. The Euro Top 16 matches up the best players in Europe (maximum of 2 players per country). This year, the top seeds were Mattias Falck, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Timo Boll, and Simon Gauzy. After the first round of matches, two of those top seeds are already eliminated.
Mattias Falck had a solid showing against France’s Emmanuel Lebesson, but the match was far from certain. Lebesson won the first game, and three of Falck’s wins came after the score was tied 10-10. With a bounce or two falling the wrong way, Lebesson could have been up 3-0. Instead, it was Falck that lead 3-1 and then closed out the match 4-2.
The tournament’s second seed, Dimitrij Ovtcharov did not play. He is still recovering from injury and his deep run to the Semifinals a week ago at the German Open likely did not provide him sufficient recovery time. The beneficiary of the Walk Over was Tomislav Pucar. The other top seed from Germany, Timo Boll, dominated his first match over Kristian Karlsson – advancing easily 4-1.
The fourth seed, Simon Gauzy, lost a 7 game heartbreaker to Wang Yang of Slovakia. The two traded games all the way until a 10-10 tie in the seventh game. Wang then scored two in a row to knock out one of the even’s favorites. The other upset was Darko Jorgic over Vladimir Samsonov 4-1.
Marcos Freitas advanced easily with a 4-0 won over Daniel Habesohn. Marcos will now face Tomislav Pucar providing an easier run in the bottom half of the draw now that Ovtcharov is out. Liam Pitchford was favored over Lionel Weber and the score backed up that ranking – with Pitchford sailing through 4-0.
The next round is scheduled for Saturday evening. The Semifinals and Final will be played on Sunday.
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