This year’s championship brought some exciting games and surprising results. Three of four semi-finalists reached this stage for the first time in their careers. Only the eventual champion Kirill Skachkov had such experience before.
19-year old Maksim Grebnev made it to the finals for the first time. However, he already had successful finals experience in the doubles event, where he won the gold medal with Lev Katsman. They both met in the 1/4 finals stage and reigning champion Katsman lost to his doubles partner in a hard-fought game 3-4.
In the semi-finals Skachkov had to get past the 22-year old Nikita Artemenko, who also became one of the surprises of this tournament. The more experienced Skachkov won 4-1 and advanced to the final. But it was still a great tournament for Artemenko, as he won his two first bronze medals in this tournament, adding a doubles bronze to his singles accolade.
The final match was a historic moment for both – Skachkov and Grebnev. For both of them, it was a chance to win their first Russian title in singles event. In the end, experience took it over. Skachkov won 4-2 and enjoyed another memorable moment this year. Last month, he earned his spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
Outside the medal winners, one of the biggest surprises was the performance of the 50-year old table tennis veteran Dmitriy Bobrov, who won two higher ranked players in the group stage made and reached the round of 32, where he lost to Alexei Liventsov.
Alexei Liventsov/Yulia Prokhorova
Vildan Gadiev/Valeria Kocyur
Kirill Skachkov/Olga Vorobyeva
Andrei Baibuldin/Anna Ryazanova