The Europe Top 16 took place in Antibes, France last weekend and was won by Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov in men and Netherland’s Li Jie in women.
The top 3 finishers in each gender got automatic invitations to the World Cup later this year (with likely more also getting in). This is the 3rd year in a row that Ovtcharov has won this tournament which is the first time in the tournament’s history that someone has done so. Sweden’s Jan-Ove Waldner has the most wins of this tournament with 7 (before called Europe Top 12).
There was a confrontation at the end of the semi-final match between Shibaev and Gauzy but that doesn’t happen too often in table-tennis.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov is one of the best known sportsmen in Germany and China and is tied for the most Olympic medals in table-tennis history with 4 medals. I have gotten the chance to play him at a tournament in LA and he has a very good backhand and backhand serve. I was able to win 1 game partly due to heavy backspin and lost 3-1 and was one of two players in the tournament to win one game against him as he beat all the other Chinese players in the tournament quite easily. I asked him for advice after the match and he told me that “your everything was good” and that I had good touch which coming from him was nice to hear.
Here is my match with him: