Top seed, favourite for gold, Germany’s Timo Boll won the Men’s Singles title at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships in Alicante on the evening of Sunday 23rd September, thus thoroughly justifying his high ranking status.
At the final hurdle, he accounted for Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, the no.28 seed, in five games (6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5).
Defeat for Ovidiu Ionescu but a silver medal for the 29 year old, who had met Timo Boll on one previous occasion in a world ranking event, losing in the opening round on the ITTF World Tour in 2009 in Qatar, left the Costa Blanca will head held high.
“I am so honoured to have played among such big stars here. I did not believe something like this could happen but now I believe in everything.” Ovidiu Ionescu
Quite simply in the final, he had been beaten by the master; winning in Alicante, Timo Boll has now set a record that one wonders may never be equalled.
In 1990 in Gothenburg, when Sweden’s Mikael Appelgren won for the third time and in 2005 when Vladimir Samsonov prevailed in Aarhus and thus matched the feat, we stood in awe and admiration.
Now Timo Boll has won for a quite incredible seventh time and if injury had not played a role would that number be even greater? Two years ago in Budapest, injury forced a semi-final withdrawal.
He won for the first time in 2002 in Zagreb; in 2007 he succeeded in Belgrade, before the following year retaining the title in St Petersburg. Later in consecutive years commencing in 2010 in Ostrava, he succeeded in Gdansk and Herning; now in Alicante.
“I still have nerves. I still have the desire to win and to play; that is good thing. I enjoy the game. Success is important but if you do not feel the joy, then is time to quit. I think I will stay for a while longer. I am feeling good. I am surprised that I won this Championship. I was shocked in the final. Ionescu is very clever player. He came well prepared, he is fast and he hits hard the ball. Also, the level of his self-confidence was fantastic.” Timo Boll
Now, Germany closes the gap on Sweden as the most successful country in the Men’s Singles event at a European Championships. Starting with Hans Alser in 1962 in Berlin and concluding with the most recent, Peter Karlsson in Bremen in 2000; the Nordic country captured the title 11 times. Following the success of Jörg Rosskopf in 1992 in Stuttgart, Dimitrij Ovtcharov in 2013 in Schwechat and in 2015 in Ekaterinburg, ten is the new German total.
A remarkable record, it is very different for Romania. Accepted Kalinikos Kreanga was born in Romania but since the turn of the century has represented Greece, he lost to Timo Boll in the 2002 final in Zagreb; Ovidiu Ionescu is the first Romanian to reach a European Championships Men’s Singles final since Radu Negulescu in 1960 in Zagreb.
They are the only Romanian representatives ever to have advanced to the Men’s Singles final; both lost to players of legendary status, Radu Negulescu to Hungary’s Zoltan Berczik, Ovidiu Ionescu to the most successful of them all, Timo Boll.