Timo Boll wins Olympic test in Hamm
*Original Article appeared at Tischtennis.de – Original in German.
Hamm. Timo Boll won the Olympic test tournament in Hamm (16 July 2016). In the final, the current European champion left World No. 9 Vladimir Samsonov no chance. In the semifinals, Boll had claimed a seven set victory in the internal German duel against Dimitrij Ovtcharov. Overall, 2,000 spectators watched the tournament in the sports hall of the School of Peace on Friday and Saturday.
With a knee surgery last September and some other injuries as well, Timo Boll had initially felt little promise for his chances in this Olympic year. But the Düsseldorf star seems more and more in shape. In Hamm, Boll looked almost playful in winning his four singles matches – including the semi-final against Dimitrij Ovtcharov and the final against Valdimir Samsonov.
“I am pleased with my performance. Definitely satisfied — I’ve moved well, since I had in the last few weeks a little trouble. Today I can work through the pain in my knee. I hope I can reach an even higher gear for Rio. Due to an intensive course week plus the stress of the tournament itself, Boll and Samsonov had agreed to play the final just to three wins. “I think in our Final, he was somewhat flat. But in Rio, I expect real strength from Vladi as he is fighting for medals. He is in in better shape, but still needs a couple of weeks. ”
In regard to his own Rio ambitions and his desire to secure his first individual medal. “You really have to aim high and stick with it, even if your goals seem distant. I’ll keep pushing, and trying “said Boll, who will appreciate prize money of 2500 euros in Hamm.
Ovtcharov suffered a concentration lapse in the seventh game in the semi-finals which matched two of Europe’s best, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, against National teammate Boll. Ovtcharov fell to an 0: 3-deficit but was able to tie the score at 3-3. In the deciding set Ovtcharov was up 7: 5 with the serve with the opportunity to shut the bag. But Boll turned the tables. “Against a player like Timo, you must not fall back to 0: 3 at the start. I did not use my chances at 10. 8 in the third set, or 7: 5 in the first. After that I felt was the better player, the game ran in my direction. When I had a 7:5-lead in the seventh, I had a concentration hole that must not happen. But the tournament has shown that we are on the right track ” – Ovtcharov said after his semi-final defeat. His current performance did not equal his No. 5 World Ranking.”Until last Thursday, I have trained six to eight hours a day, Friday brought me here for the competition. What percentage I am, I can not say. I just want to be at 100 percent on August 7th,” emphasized “Dima” , The table tennis competitions in Rio de Janeiro start on August 6, the German athletes will begin action no earlier than August 7.
“It was important that the players are put to the stress of a competition with spectators and referees after a long training phase. That was a good test, and now we know which screws to turn to fine tune. Timo played very well today. That was important for him to see that he can play at the highest level. Between Timo and Dima duels are often very close, “said men’s coach Jörg Rosskopf.
Steger improves from game to game. In the second semifinal, Bastian Steger was defeated by the Belarusian veteran Vladimir Samsonov in six sets. At first it looked like it could be a smooth 4: 0 for the now 40-year-old former European champion Samsonov. But Steger won back to back games to bring the score to 2: 3, and he had three set points in the sixth set to even the match. The World No. 9 was able to fend off the strong attack, to win close out the match with a 13:11 win. “That was a good tournament for me. I improved from game to game. Against Walker there was still sand in the gears, compared to Shibaev where it was a good match. Against Vladi, the first three sets showed nothing, but then it was really good” , analyzed Steger and then further described Samsonov: “Vladi has incredibly good vision. From the outside it does not look spectacular, there are just many small things. He placed the ball and just plays very clever..” In the coming weeks to departure to Rio de Janeiro, the number three in the German Rio team will work mainly on his energey and fine tuning the speed and pace.
Top Favorite to pull the semi-finals – The top favorites moved through the morning in their groups unscathed with each moving to the semi-finals. Dimitrij Ovtcharov took the hurdle of Paul Drinkhall relatively easily, pushed only in the first set. Drinkhall’s compatriot Liam Pitchford looked flat against Timo Boll. Boll won 3: 0, with set one at 11: 3. Patrick Franziska drew the former European Champion Samsonov in Group B and World No. 9 made him pay dearly. In Group D, the third single match went the full distance. Bastian Steger defeated the Russian Shibaev in a real chessmatch.
2,000 spectators at two tournament days / ITTF president visits – DTTB Sports Director Richard Prause moved to the two tournament days following conclusion: “The players have worked very hard in a long training phase. Therefore, it was now important to simulate a competition at the highest level. We were very well cared for in Hamm, at a club that has a large table tennis tradition. Hamm has an impact as a small but important piece of the puzzle for the German Rio team. We have seen great sport and receive important feedback. We are on a good path, and hope to have in Rio a good form on the day, in order to continue our little tradition can and as in 2008 and 2012 to be among the medalists. ” Martin Vatheuer, President of the through guide TTC Green-White Bad Hamm, summed up: “Sporty we saw exciting and high-class games on Friday and Saturday. Something of a pity that Timo and Dima met each other in the semifinals. Organizationally, everything was flawless. After the successful end of the year, we have embarked on the preparation. We were lucky that now are already holiday and we were able to market the hall early. The audience were absolutely fine, at the three sessions Friday night, Saturday morning and afternoon we had together a total of 2,000 spectators. “The association of Westphalia, in men’s area in the Third Bundesliga at home, had the audience in addition to the actual top sports a fun program with a “fun park” offer. 30-40 helpers will run smoothly. One was from the spectators on Saturday no less than the President of the ITTF, Thomas Weikert. For the former DTTB president to return to their own past was, he was to hammer Bundesliga times but twice the jersey of TTC Green-White. Advertised – “It was always very nice here, even if we are then relegated,” Weikert, the one more time for the Individual World Championships in Dusseldorf in 2017 (June 5 29 May).
Timo Boll won the Olympic test tournament in Hamm (16 July 2016). In the final, the current European champion left World No. 9 Vladimir Samsonov no chance. In the semifinals, Boll had claimed a seven set victory in the internal German duel against Dimitrij Ovtcharov.