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Ovtcharov and Samsonov fulfil roles as favourites

TT Semi
Vladimir Samsonov overcame Lei Kou of Ukraine in Friday's semi-final. Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Europe's no.1 and no.3 to meet in men's Table Tennis gold medal match

Top seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany and no.3 seed Vladimir Samsonov from Belarus were the semi-final winners in the Table Tennis men's singles on Friday morning, beating Great Britain's Paul Drinkhall and Ukrainian Lei Kou respectively.

With second seed Timo Boll pulling out due to illness earlier this week, it means that Europe's top-ranked players will meet each other in Friday evening's final at Baku Sports Hall.

Ovtcharov had a shaky start against an aggressive Drinkhall, having to come from behind twice after losing the first and third game, but the 26-year-old German clinched a 4-2 victory.

"Two games-to-one up and 4-1 in the fourth was my chance to go on and win," said Drinkhall. "But he's a great player. I can reach his level, I just don't know how yet."

Belarusian Samsonov was equally outclassed by his Ukrainian opponent in the opening game, but using all of his experience, the 39-year-old dispatched his opponent in convincing fashion, winning 4-1.

Kou and Drinkhall will do battle for bronze at Baku Sports Hall at 19:00, with the gold medal match between Ovtcharov and Samsonov at 20:00.


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