Olympic veterans and debutants earn their tickets to Tokyo

Tournament in Guimaraes turned out to be a very intense one. Stakes were high and there were plenty of surprises. Spanish veteran Jesus Cantero won the Ovidiu Ionescu 4-1 in the group stage. Polish talent Samuel Kulczycky got a 4-0 win against Lubomir Pistej, who is 300 places above the young player in the World Rankings. 20-year old Vladislav Ursu from Moldova won the experienced Belarussian Pavel Platonov 4-3.

Among the players, who earned their tickets to Tokyo, the most experienced one is the 41-year old Greek defender Panagiotis Gionis. Olympic Games in Tokyo will be the fifth for the Greek legend. For 34-year old Kou Lei from Ukraine it will be the third Olympic experience in his career. Previously, he played in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Romanian Ovidiu Ionescu, who had a 7-game long journey in this qualifying tournament, will play in his second Olympics.

For other players, this was a chance to live through a historic moments in their journey. For the 30-year old Alvaro Robles and 28-year old Pavel Širuček Tokyo Olympics will be the first in their careers. Robles has enjoyed the success in the World Championships, but the Olympic dream was never reached before. In the decisive game, Spaniard won the Russian hope Vladimir Sidorenko 4-3. Siruček was the one, who took the final, 5th ticket to Tokyo, earning it with a 4-2 win over Paul Drinkhall in the decisive match.

QUALIFIED PLAYERS & THEIR PATH TO TOKYO

Alvaro Robles
3-4 vs. Aleksandr Khanin (11-3, 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 7-11, 6-11, 9-11)
4-0 vs. Ioannis Sgouroupoulos (15-13, 11-6, 13-11, 11-4)
4-0 vs. Olegs Kartuzovs (11-5, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3)
4-1 vs. Yevhen Pryshchepa (11-7, 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7)
4-3 vs. Panagiotis Gionis (2-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6)
4-1 vs. Paul Drinkhall (11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5)
4-3 vs. Vladimir Sidorenko (9-11, 12-10, 14-12, 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 17-15)

Kou Lei
4-0 vs. Cedric Nuytinck (14-12, 11-8, 11-8, 14-12)
4-0 vs. Samuel Kulczycki (11-9, 11-5, 11-5, 15-13)
4-2 vs. Rares Sipos (11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 5-11, 11-6)

Panagiotis Gionis
3-4 vs. Alvaro Robles (11-2, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 10-12, 6-11)
4-3 vs. Lubomir Pistej (9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3, 11-13, 11-4)
4-0 vs. Rares Sipos (11-6, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5)
4-1 vs. Pavel Širuček (6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7)

Ovidiu Ionescu
1-4 vs. Jesus Cantero (7-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9, 11-5)
3-4 vs. Mihai Bobocica (11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 6-11)
4-0 vs. Tal Israeli (11-9, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8)
3-4 vs. Lubomir Pistej (8-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-4, 6-11, 8-11, 8-11)
4-1 vs. Vladimir Sidorenko (11-8, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-7)
4-3 vs. Daniel Habesohn (3-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-1, 11-7)
4-1 vs. Paul Drinkhall (11-3, 11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8)

Pavel Širuček
4-1 vs. Eric Glod (15-13, 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10)
1-4 vs. Vladimir Sidorenko (11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 3-11, 9-11)
4-1 vs. Cedric Nuytinck (11-7, 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7)
4-2 vs. Mihai Bobocica (11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10)
1-4 vs. Panagiotis Gionis (11-6, 10-12, 8-11, 4-11, 7-11)
4-2 vs. Paul Drinkhall (11-3, 11-3, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7)

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