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Elizabeta Samara (left) and Daniela Dodean
(right) celebrate success
Photo By: Remy Gros
Courtesy of ITTF
Austria and Romania secured the first titles to be decided at the current European Championships in Herning, when on Saturday October 20, 2012, Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn donned the Men’s Doubles crown, after Daniela Dodean and Elizabeta Samara had secured the top prize in the Women’s Doubles competition.
The win recorded by the Austrians was a surprise, Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn were the sixth seeds; the success posted by Daniela Dodean and Elizabeta Samara was no great revelation.
They were the top seeds. Furthermore, they had a pedigree of success in the event. They had been the runners up one year ago in Gdansk-Sopot and the champions in 2009 in Stuttgart.
Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn, as a partnership, had no such honors against the names and to secure the top prize, on the fourth day of action, they had to cause a brace of surprises.
Seeded no.6, at the semi-final stage they ousted the combination of Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.3 seeds (11-2, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5), before defeating the Swedish combination of Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson, the no.5 seeds in the final; a tension packed seven games duel resolved by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game.
They won 12-10, 11-9, 10-12, 11-13, 11-5, 13-15, 12-10.
A Further Upset
Two surprises caused by the Austrians and to reach the final, the Swedes had to upset the pecking order.
They ousted Russia’s Alexey Liventsov and Mikhail Paykov, the no.4 seeds, in the penultimate round in an equally tense seven games duel. They succeeded 7-11, 10-12, 11-9, 14-12, 11-5, 6-11, 12-10.
Again in Denmark
It is only the second time in what is now 31 editions of the European Championships that an Austrian pair has won the Men’s Doubles title.
Furthermore that was on the only previous occasion that the tournament has been staged in Denmark.
In 2005 in Aarhus, Karl Jindrak and Werner Schlager beat Kalin Kreanga and Vladimir Samsonov in the final to arrest the title.
Runners Up One Year Ago
Meanwhile, for Daniela Dodean and Elizabeta Samara, in 2009 they beat the Italian partnership of Nikoleta Stefanova and Tan Wenling in the final; while one year ago in Poland they had suffered defeat in the gold medal match, losing to the combination of Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene and Russia’s Oxana Fadeeva, the duo who had also won in 2010 in Ostrava.
The top seeds in Herning, the Romanian duo overcame the third seeded German pairing of Kristin Silbereisen and Wu Jiaduo in the semi-finals (17-15, 6-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-5), before overcoming the Hungarian partnership of Krisztina Toth and Georgina Pota, the no.2 seeds, in a most hard fought final (7-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 21-19, 11-5).
In the counterpart semi-final, Georgina Pota and Krisztina Toth had beaten the outfit formed by compatriot Dora Madarasz and Britt Eerland of the Netherlands in an equally tense seven games encounter (7-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-4, 13-11, 13-15, 11-9).
Victory for Daniela Dodean and Elizabeta Samara gives them a special place in the annals of Romanian table tennis; despite the immense success enjoyed by Romania at the European Championships, no all Romanian partnership has ever won the Women’s Doubles title on more than one occasion.
Angelica Rozeanu and Maria Alexandru
Angelica Rozeanu won in Budapest in the inaugural tournament in 1958 when she partnered Ella Constantinescu; two years later in Zagreb she won again, on that occasion partnering Maria Alexandru.
Two titles for Angelica Rozeanu and two for Maria Alexandru, she won again in 1978 in Duisburg, partnering Liana Mihut.
Three Titles for Mihaela Steff
However, the most successful Romanian is Mihaela Steff.
She won on three consecutive occasions; she struck gold in Zagreb in 2002, one year later in Courmayeur and in 2005 in Aarhus but the successes were not with a compatriot, she partnered Croatia’s Tamara Boros on each occasion.
Daniela Dodean and Elizabeta Samara stand alone.
Download Full Results
For full results visit: European Championships 2012 – Full Results