วันเสาร์ที่ 19 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2552

Titles Retained at the European Championships

Germany and the Netherlands retained their respective Men’s and Women’s Team titles at the Liebherr European Championships in Stuttgart on Wednesday September 16, 2009 and, in so doing, reinforced their status as the leading opposition from the continent to current Asian excellence.
At the ultimate hurdle, Germany overcame Denmark by three matches to two in the Men’s Team final while the Netherlands recorded a three-one success against Poland. The same trio of players, who had succeeded in St Petersburg one year earlier, repeated the success in Stuttgart.

Denmark’s Michael Maze on Fire
For Germany it was Timo Boll, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Christian Süss while for the Netherlands it was Li Jiao, Li Jie and Elena Timina.

Superb Form
However, the player in blistering form came from neither country; Denmark’s Michael Maze, as he had been in the semi-finals against Austria, was on fire.

He beat both Christian Süss and Timo Boll; the latter victory being somewhat of a surprise. Timo Boll and Michael Maze have met on no less than 20 occasions in world ranking events, prior to the meeting in Stuttgart, Boll had won all 20!

Denmark’s Michael Maze on Fire
Photo By: ITTF Asia / Pacific Office

Shanghai Revisited
Maze displayed the form that he had shown in 2005 at the Volkswagen 48th World Championships in Shanghai when he reached the semi-final stage of the Men’s Singles event; in the intervening years he has promised but never really delivered, in Stuttgart he delivered the goods.

Lone Winner
Alas for the Danes any thoughts of 2005 when they won the coveted Men’s Team title at the Liebherr European Championships on home soil in Aarhus were not to be; Maze was the lone soldier.

Finn Tugwell lost to both Timo Boll and Christian Süss while Martin Monrad was beaten by Dimitrij Ovtcharov.

Vital Win
Meanwhile, in the Women’s Team final, Elena Timina was the heroine.

The vastly experienced defender, who hails from Moscow and played many times for Russia before marrying and moving to the Netherlands, adopts the policy of “thou shalt not pass” with her stonewall defense; this combined with an occasional backhand attack in the style of the 1930s won the vital third match of the proceeding.

She beat Xu Jie in five games after Li Jiao had lost to Li Qian and Li Jie had defeated Natalia Partyka.

Pressure Reduced
Timina’s win gave the Netherlands the advantage, it reduced the pressure on Li Jiao, the next to enter the court and playing freely she brought gold to the Netherlands.

She defeated Natalia Partyka in straight games.

Challengers
Success in the Championship Division for Germany and the Netherlands while in the Challenge Division for teams outside the top 16, Portugal (Marcos Freitas, Andre Silva, Tiago Apolonia) finished in top place ahead of Greece (Kalinikos Kreanga, Dimitrios Papadimitriou, Konstantinos Papageorgiou, Panagiotis Gionis) in the Men’s Division with Sweden and Luxembourg occupying the respective top two places in the Women’s Division.

Sweden (Matilda Ekholm, Carina Jonsson, Malin Pettersson, Marie Persson) emerged as the champions with Luxembourg (Ni Xia Lian, Simone Haan, Tessy Gonderinger, Sarah de Nutte, Danielle Konsbruck) in runners up spot.

Relegation
Relegated from the Men’s Championship Division are Belgium (Yannick Vostes, Benjamin Rogiers, Kilomo Vitta, Jean-Michel Saive) and Hungary (Daniel Kosiba, Krisztian Nagy, Daniel Zwickl); while from the Women’s Champion Division it is Russia (Irina Kotikhina, Elena Troshneva, Anna Tikhomirova) who depart alongside Lithuania (Ruta Paskauskeine, Lina Misikonyte, Ausra Stirbyte).

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