Lebesson makes history at the ITTF-European Championships

Emmanuel Lebesson has become the first Frenchman to win the men's table tennis singles European Championships since 1976, after clinching the title in Budapest.

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
24th October 2016

article:24th October 2016

No. 14 seed Lebesson was a rank outsider heading into the event, with no one expecting the 28-year-old to have a chance at the prestigious title. In another piece of history, Lebesson played his compatriot Simon Gauzy in the first ever there was an all-French final.

Lebesson who was too good for Gauzy, in what was surprisingly their first ever match against each other, and prevailed 14-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 to arrest the title.

After his victory, Lebesson stated: “I did not start the match very well and that is the last thing I wanted to happen, if you gave Simon the chance to lead, he will just increase the pressure.

“At the end of the opening game, I managed to win only one point on my service. Later Simon recovered, but I raised my game to higher level. From the third game I played the best table tennis of my life. It was incredible match!”

Lebesson is only the second ever Frenchman to win the men’s singles title at a European Championships, while Gauzy becomes the country’s first ever silver medallist.

In the women’s tournament Turkey’s Melek Hu became the 2016 European champion.

The sixth seed beat Portugal’s Fu Yu, the No. 9 seed, 11-3, 11-2, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7 in the final to claim her first European crown.

It was one of the most comprehensive performances in the history of the Women’s Singles event at a European Championships. The 27-year-old surrendered just five games on her way to the title, in addition to the one game lost in the final.

“I am happy the way I played today. I am not afraid of the penholders anymore. I was confident and I had a good feeling for the ball,” stated Hu.

The mixed national association combination of Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the No. 7 seeds, won the European Championships men’s doubles title.

At the final hurdle they beat the Polish combination of Jajub Dyjas and Daniel Gorak, the No. 6 seeds, to win an emotional title 4-11, 11-4, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10.

“We don’t have much experience and that’s why we were little nervous in the final. To be honest, the last time I played in a final was in 2010. Dyjas and Gorak played very well too. It was hard to keep them under the control,” stated an ecstatic Groth.

Somewhat surprise finalists, the German pair of Kristin Silbereisen and Sabine Winter emerged as the winners of the women’s doubles event.

In an all-German final, the No. 7 seeds accounted for compatriots Xiaona Shan and Petrissa Solja, the second seeds, in a full distance seven games contest 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 2-11, 7-11, 11-9.

Husband and wife, Portugal’s Joao Monteiro and Romania’s Daniela Monteiro-Dodean created history by becoming the first ever married couple to become mixed doubles European champions.

“I started this journey with Joao as my colleague, when we faced great pressure he acted like my husband. The support helped,” stated Monteiro-Dodean.

The duo, seeded fourth, recovered from a 0-2 deficit at the final hurdle to beat Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson and Matilda Ekholm, the third seeds, in five games 5-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 14-12.

All attention now turned to the 2016 ITTF-African Championships being held on October 24-30, 2016 in Agadir, Morocco.