Ovtcharov and Shen peaks Europe to qualify for 2016 World Cups

Germany's Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and Spain's SHEN Yanfei have topped the 2016 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup, held in Gondomar, Portugal from 5 - 7 Feb 2016, to qualify for the 2016 ITTF Men's and Women's World Cups later this year.

Germany's Dimitrij OVTCHAROV and Spain's SHEN Yanfei have topped the 2016 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup, held in Gondomar, Portugal from 5 - 7 Feb 2016, to qualify for the 2016 ITTF Men's and Women's World Cups later this year.

The 2016 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup is the European continental qualifications for the Men's & Women's World Cups later in the year, with the top three placed players gaining direct qualification to the prestigious events.

OVTCHAROV, who has had a fantastic 2015 arresting all major singles titles in Europe, continued his dominance. The top seeded German who suffered a surprise 2-3 defeat to the host country's Joao MONTEIRO in the group stage, was able to avenge his group stage loss against the surprise finalist in a thrilling final to prevail 4-2 (11-6, 11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 11-13, 11-7) to defend his title.

After his third overall victory, the 27-year-old stated "I have to admit Joao surprised me in the group stage. He played very well, I studied the reason for my defeat and I was well prepared today."

"In fourth game I struggled to gain a two-point cushion which I needed to secure the match. He won some great relies but I still believed I could win."

In the women's gold medal match, second seeded HU Melek (TUR) who knocked out defending champion LIU Jia (AUT) in the semifinals, could not repeat her success in the final hurdle, losing to the fifth seeded SHEN 1-4 (11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 7-11, 5-11).

The elated Spanish shared after her victory "It was difficult to play against Hu, especially since she beat me last time. We are also doubles partners so we know each other well."

The 36-year-old added "I had shaky start of the tournament; in all three matches in the group I was forced to go the full distance. However, it all worked out well and gradually I played with more confidence. At the end of the day I was pleased with my performance."

Other than OVTCHAROV & SHEN, Joao MONTEIRO (POR) and Alexander SHIBAEV (RUS), as well as HU Melek (TUR) and LIU Jia (AUT), who took the second and third places in the Men's & Women's Singles respectively, have also gained direct qualifications to the 2015 ITTF Men's & Women's World Cups.

With the 2016 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup concluded, all eyes now turn to the 2016 ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup that will be held in Khartoum, Sudan from 14 - 15 Feb 2016 to find out who will be representing Africa at the ITTF World Cups.

For more information, contact:

ITTF Promotion Manager

Matt Pound

mpound@ittfmail.com

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