38 year old Samsonov wins record 26th ITTF World Tour Title in Qatar

Qatar, Feb 23, 2015: Belarusian Vladimir SAMSONOV has sensationally won his 26th ITTF World Tour title at the GAC Group 2015 World Tour Super Series Qatar Open.

The 38 year old responded to China’s MA Long closing in on his record after he won the Kuwait Open last week, by showing vintage form to defeat Olympic bronze medalist Dimitrij OVTCHAROV 11-9, 11-8, 15-13, 6-11, 11-9 in the final.

This was a dramatically different SAMSONOV who lost in the opening round of last week’s Kuwait Open to turn around his form to taste Qatar Open success, just as he did in 2003 when he was world number one.

“I was down in the first game and won, but I think more importantly I was 4-8 behind in the third game and won; that was the crucial game in the match” stated SAMSONOV.

“Dima (OVTCHAROV) and myself, we know each other so well, we both play for the same club in the Russian League. I wanted to win and I am really happy that I won. I won in 2003 but I didn’t expect to win this year; Qatar is always a strong tournament and this year I played well from the very start.”

The number seven seed, Romanian Elizabeta SAMARA shocked the strong women’s field to become the women’s champion.
The 25 year old from Constanta, Romania, marked a spectacular recovery from knee surgery in November to upset the number three seed HAN Ying (GER) in the final: 11-6, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9.

“During the match, my coach just told me to be calm, to relax and not to panic because I had never beaten HAN before” stated SAMARA.

“This victory means a lot to me, as it is my first Super Series title and my third World Tour victory overall. Plus my first one since my knee operation!”

Marcos FREITAS (POR) and Andrej GACINA (CRO) won the men’s doubles title, after beating the Brazilian pair of Hugo CALDERANO and Gustavo TSUBOI 11-3, 11-5, 12-10. The Brazilians have made history by becoming the first ever Latin Americans to reach an ITTF World Tour Super Series Final.

Hong Kong’s JIANG Huajun and TIE Yana were the women’s doubles champions. The Hong Kong pair who won their fourth World Tour title here in Doha defeated Singapore’s LIN Ye and ZHOU Yihan 11-3, 11-9, 11-8 in the final.

Benjamin BROSSIER of France and Romania’s Bernadette SZOCS won the respective under 21 men’s Singles and under 21 women’s singles titles to close out the gold medals at the GAC Group 2015 World Tour Super Series Qatar Open.

The next stop on the GAC Group ITTF World Tour is the Nigerian Open in Lagos on March 10 and the German Open in Bremen on March 18. —- ITTF

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