Slovak table tennis players Barbora Balážová and Ľubomír Pištej won bronze medals at the return of Europe in Munich. In Monday’s semi-final, they lost to the French couple Tianan Jüan and Emmanuel Lebesson smoothly 0:3 in sets (4, 6, 12).
Table tennis – ME:
Mixed doubles – semis:
Tianan Yuan, Emmanuel Lebesson (Fr) – Barbora BALÁŽOVÁ, Ľubomír PIŠTEJ (SR) 3:0 (4, 6, 12)
Balážová and Pištěj followed up last year’s continental championship in Warsaw, where they won silver.
The French, as the third pair in the world ranking (the newest from Europe), confirmed the favorites to the maximum extent and dominated from the beginning. They quickly jumped out to a 4-0 lead, went up to 8-2 and quickly took the first set 11-4. Although Balážová and Pištej took a 3:2 lead, the opponents announced 5:3 and did not let go.
From the score of 7:6, they won four balls in a row and won the second set as well. The third period was the most balanced, in which the Slovaks had a slight upper hand up to a score of 8:7 from their point of view. The end already belonged to Jüan Lebesson, who got the score and got to the swords. The Slovaks were able to repel three, but after the fourth, the French were still fighting to advance to the final. The duel lasted 25 minutes.
Balážová and Pištej, as the fifth seeded couple, eliminated the Portuguese-Danish duo Ines Matosová and Martin Buch Andersen 3:2 in the first round on Sunday, and in the round of 16 they also defeated the German pair Sabine Winterová and Benedikt Duda 3:0.
In the quarter-finals, the Slovaks then won over the Spanish pair of Maria Siao and Alvaro Robles 3:2 in sets and secured the bronze medal. In Munich, they took care of the fourth Slovak table tennis medal from the top event in the adult category.
For the fourth time, it is the precious metal from the mixed doubles. In the era of independence, Jaromír Truksa and Valentina Popová were the first to succeed, winning bronze at the 1994 EC in Birmingham, UK. Pištej and Balážová have silver from the continental championships in 2013 in Buzau, Romania, and last year’s in Warsaw, Poland (originally it was supposed to be in 2020).
“We are happy to advance to the semifinals and win the bronze medal. The opponent in the semifinals was of high quality, he beat us three times before and he succeeded this time as well. It’s a shame that we somehow managed to win the third set.” said national team coach Jaromír Truksa in the first reaction