Ekaterinburg, Sept 29, 2015: Austria has become the Men’s European Team Champions for the very first time today at the Liebherr 2015 ITTF-European Table Tennis Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Austria created history by defeating Germany, the heavy favorites for gold, 3-2 in one of the most dramatic and exciting table tennis final of all time.
Austria’s number one Robert GARDOS got the underdogs off to a perfect start, coming back from 0-2 down to defeat Germany’s Patrick BAUM 3-2 in the opening match.
Austria were one point from going to a 2-0 lead when Stefan FEGERL surrendered a match point to lose 3-2 against world number five Dimitrij OVTCHAROV in an epic match that went for 1 hour and 14 minutes.
Daniel HABESOHN 3-2 win over Patrick FRANZISKA put Austria 2-1 up, only for OVTCHAROV to beat GARDOS to tie the match 2-2 and send it into a decider.
FEGERL did not make the same mistake he did against OVTCHAROV again and hammered BAUM to conclude matters and start the emotional celebrations from the Austrian team in front of the capacity crowd.
“It feels amazing for us to win the title over Germany! We were ready for the long match. If you want to beat Germany you have to be prepared to play the marathon. It stands the same for my first match. I never gave up. I kept fighting,” explained GARDOS.
“This time it was easer then in previous matches. Germany was under greater pressure. This time I played relaxed,” said FEGERL.
Earlier in the day, Germany won their third European Women’s Team title in a row after defeating a spirited Romanian team 3-0 in the final.
Germany got off to a flying start with world number 11 HAN Ying easily dispatching off Bernadette SZOCS 3-0 to gain all the momentum. Germany did not look back as SHAN Xiaona beat Romania’s number one player Elizabeta SAMARA 3-0, and Petrissa SOLJA fought off some last minute nerves to defeat Daniela MONTEIRO-DODEAN 3-2 to clinch the gold.
After winning the deciding match, SOLJA stated: “I already saw myself with the gold medal after the second game, and suddenly I could not play anymore as I got extremely nervous. Everything that I tried failed. It was only in the fifth game when I recovered.”
“Now, I am even happier as I won my team the gold medal with the 3:2 victory against DODEAN, and we are the champions!” explained SOLJA.
The Liebherr 2015 ITTF-Europe Table Tennis Championships continues tomorrow, with four titles (men’s & women’s singles & doubles) still up for grabs before the event finishes on 4 October 2015. —- ITTF