(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager)
First time ever, all German final
Success for the top two seeds at the semi-final stage of the Men’s Singles event at the China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup on Sunday 4th February; thus for the first time ever in the history of the tournament, which started life in Zadar in 1971, it will be an all-German final.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov meets Timo Boll.
In the penultimate round, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the top seed, beat Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.8 seed (12-10, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10), he was followed by Timo Boll who accounted for Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.9 seed (10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 12-14, 11-5, 12-10).
“In past year and the half I have played more with my backhand. My legs are not that fast as they used to be. Samsonov and I have a long sporting history and we are very good friends. There was no big pressure. We know each other very well. All we had to do was to give our best on the court and see who would come up as winner. Whatever the outcome, we will stay good friends.” Timo Boll
A first all-German Men’s Singles final and the first time since 1995 in Dijon, that players from the same nation have confronted each other in the crucial contest.
The only previous occasions have involved Swedish players; in 1980 in Munich Stellan Bengtsson beat Ulf Thorsell in the final, after that encounter the name of Jan-Ove Waldner was always present.
Notably, in 1988 in Ljubljana he beat Jörgen Persson to claim the title, the following year in Charleroi he accounted for Erik Lind, as he did later in 1995 in Dijon after having overcome Peter Karlsson in 1993 in the final in Copenhagen. Four wins but against Swedish opposition but twice he had to settle for second position, in 1990 in Hannover, he was runner up behind Mikael Appelgren, in 1991 in Hertogenbosh next in line to Erik Lind.
The final between Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Timo Boll will be played later in the day.
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