„Kiss the table“
Dimitrij Ovtcharov wanted to reach the podium and that’s already hard enough at the World Cup. Winning the World Cup, however, the 29-year old didn’t ever dare to dream of. And then: Winning over Kou Lei (Ukraine), Alexander Shibaev (Russia), Simon Gauzy (France) und Timo Boll (Germany), DONIC star Dima achieved one of his biggest triumphs in his career, maybe even his biggest success at all. As the fourth DONIC player after the three legendary Swedes Mikael Appelgren (1983), Jan-Ove Waldner (1990) and Jörgen Persson (1991) Ovtcharov now also belongs to winners of this traditional tournament. What it means for an European to win this tournament proves a view into the statistics: At the last eleven events before, there were ten Chinese players who had won it and the last European winner in 2009. Even the legends Waldner, Appelgren and Persson had won the World Cup only once each during their brilliant career.
“Even two days later it seems to be surreal and unbelievable”, announced the winner beaming. “I always belong a bit to the circle of the favorites, I’m always well seeded, but being able to experience that Ma Long congratulates me to the winning and to be at the top just as legends like Timo and Ma Long, that’s very special. I’m completely happy and proud and I still cannot believe it.”
With his outstanding performance and his unbeatable fighting spirit Dima has deserved this success. Against Kou Lei (Ukraine) he clearly won the opening, but in the quarter final already against the Russian Aleksander Shibaev the German fans started to tremble. Dima was 2:0 behind and had to defend against two set balls in the third round at 8:10. “Although I’m a strong fighter, of course it would have been more difficult if it had been 0:3”, he admitted afterwards. But DONIC star Dima won the match like he did so many years before in best Ovtarov-style: In the most threatening situation, being with his back to the wall, he played his best table tennis.
And like this he continued. 2:3 in the semi-final against Simon Gauzy, whom Ovtcharov attested: “He has become really good.” Dima had started the match with great respect – and, as he admitted, with a high level of adrenaline. As minutes before in the other semi-final Timo Boll managed the sensation to win over World Champion Ma Long. And of course, Dima raised the question: “Is there even more possible? But I’ve tried not to think about it.”
And he did it just good enough. With 11:8 in the decisive set he kept the French busy and thus made it perfect, what had never happened before in the 37 years of history of the World Cup: a German final. Also in this final the DONIC star was behind, after losing the first set with 6:8 in the second round. Later Boll said, for him it would have been important to lead 2:0 what would have been possible of course. I think, like this Dima doesn’t come back into the match.” However, you can only speculate as hardly any player world-wide had impressively proved the ability to come back into the game that often, however hopeless the situation seemed to be. It is a fact however, that Dima moved better, acted with more pressure and how he said himself and in the end, he was not only a tick fresher, but also a tick hotter.
For Dimitrij Ovtcharov it was a special place too, as at the World Cup 2017 in Lüttich they had played on tables of his equipment supplier: DONIC World Champion TC.
“On the DONIC tables I was already very close to the victory in 2013”, he says considering the World Cup four year ago, where he only narrowly had lost against the later winner Xu Xin in the semi-final. “And I also won the European Championships 2013 on DONIC tables. I’ve got one DONIC table at home in my parent’s house. That’s like playing on your living room table”, explained Dima and adds: “Of course, that has been an advantage for me, as I practice on DONIC tables most of the time, and think these are very good tables.”
DONIC star Dimitrij Ovtcharov has impressively taken advantage of that and wrote a piece of table tennis history by winning the World Cup. We from DONIC are proud to accompany Dima a bit on his way and congratulate him.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov – Timo Boll GER 4:2 (-10,8,7,-9,7,2)
Dimitrij Ovtcharov – Simon Gauzy FRA 4:3 (-6,2,8,-10,-7,4,8)
Dimitrij Ovtcharov – Aleksander Shibaev RUS 4:3 (-9,-8,10,9,7,-10,7)
Round of the best sixteen
Dimitrij Ovtcharov – Kou Lei UKR 4:1 (4,5,11,-10,6)