Greece Upsets Seeding, Vast Experience Counts to Seal Victory
2015 ITTF European Championships
Courtesy of ITTF
Experience counted, vast experience counted as Greece caused the first upset of note at the Liebherr 2015 ITTF European Championships in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg; in the first stage of the Men’s Team event, they accounted for Croatia, the no.4 seeds, in a contest that lasted some four and a quarter hours.
Hero of the hour was Kalin Kreanga, now 43 years old, in the vital determining contest, he accounted for 19-year-old Tomislav Pucar (11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 6-11, 11-2) to secure a tension packed three-two success for Hellenic outfit.
The success for Kalin Kreanga, the winner of the Cadet Boys’ Singles title at the European Youth Championships some 30 years ago in 1986, came after he had been beaten in his opening encounter by Andrej Gacina (10-12, 11-4, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7).
“Tomislav was not in the right frame at the very beginning so I even surprised myself with the easy lead”, said Kalin Kreanga. “However after two-nil it was different story; he played much better and put me under great pressure.”
Croatia ahead but immediately Greece responded. Panagiotis Gionis beat Filip Zeljko (11-5, 10-12, 11-3, 11-3).
“Filip is very young player, but players like that can be very dangerous”, explained Panagiotis Gionis. “He risked a lot, I knew I had to stay calm and to maintain my focus; eventually it paid off.”
Matters level, Konstantinos Papageorgiou gave Greece the advantage. He overcame Tomislav Kolarek (11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-3).
“I like this kind of match, coming to arena at one-one is something I enjoy”, said Konstantinos Papageorgiou. “Of course it was not easy; you realize your match might be vital.”
Facing defeat, Andrej Gacina responded, he beat Panagiotis Gionis in four games (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9) to set the scene for Kalin Kreanga to be the hero of the hour.
Again Knowledge Counted
Success for Greece in a full five distance match duel, it was the same in the corresponding fixture. In the same group as Greece and Croatia, Belarus recorded a three matches to two success against the Czech Republic with once again vast experience counting.
Vladimir Samsonov, now 39 years old and like Kalin Kreanga a former winner of the Cadet Boys’ Singles title at the European Youth Championships, proved the mainstay of success.
He accounted for Pavel Sirucek (11-4, 11-8, 11-3) and Dmitrij Prokopcov (11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6), the wins recorded in the first and fourth matches of the contest set the scene for experience to once again count.
Even More Senior
Evgueni Chtchetinine, now 45 years old, proved too solid in defense for Pavel Sirucek; he recorded a straight games success (11-7, 11-4, 11-5).
The wins for the Czech Republic were recorded in the second and third matches of the fixture when Dmitrij Prokopcov beat Evguenij Chtchetinine (11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7) and Tomas Konency overcame Pavel Platonov (15-13,11-8, 11-8).
Hard fought wins for Greece and Belarus, life was less dramatic for Portugal and Germany, the top two seeds, but both outfits were tested. Portugal beat Hungary three-nil; Germany overcame Poland three-one.
Tiago Apolonia gave Portugal the ideal start by beating Adam Pattantyus (11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5), before Marcos Freitas overcame Daniel Kosiba (12-10, 11-13, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6) and João Monteiro concluded matters by defeating Tamas Lakatos (12-10, 8-11, 12-14, 11-7, 11-9).
Similar for Germany
A hard fought win for Portugal even though the score-line read three-nil, it was somewhat the same for Germany.
Backbone of the success was Dimitrij Ovtcharov, he beat both Jakub Dyjas (11-5, 11-9, 11-6) and Daniel Gorak (8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-1).
The one further win for Germany was recorded by Patrick Baum in the opening match of the fixture against Daniel Gorak (12-10, 11-9, 11-9). The one success for Poland came in the third contest of the engagement when Wang Zengyi beat Patrick Franziska (5-11, 10-12, 23-12, 12-10, 11-7).
“Patrick had chances to win each game but it is not easy to play against Wang Zengyi, reflected Jörg Rosskopf on the defeat experienced by Patrick Franziska. “There were a few vital moments but the crucial fact is that we won; we had a good start and we are looking forward match against Spain.”
Success for France and Spain
In the remaining Men’s Championship Division fixtures completed on the opening morning of play France (Antoine Hachard, Simon Gauzy, Emmanuel Lebesson) in the same group as Portugal and Hungary, beat Serbia (Aleksandar Karakasevic, Zsolt Pete, Marko Jevtovic) three-two.
Likewise, Spain (Marc Duran, Carlos Machado, Alvaro Robles) in the same group as Germany and Poland, overcame Ukraine (Kou Lei, Ivan Katkov, Yaroslav Zhmudenko) by the same margin.
Visit ETTU.org and ITTF.com for more information on the 2015 European Championships.