Samsonov Advanced To The Finals In The 2011 Spanish Open

Samsonov advanced to the finals in the 2011 Spanish Open
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In the men’s division, the first semi final match is between top seed crowd favorite Vladimir Samsonov and the biggest surprise Li Ahmet of Turkey who ranks 90th in the world. During the match, Li Ahmet managed to overcome Samsonov in two matches and occasionally showed a great performance making his presence felt all throughout. However, Samsonov still came very composed and focused, after all he’s the top seed in this tournament. Samsonov ended the match winning 4-2.

Vladimir Samsonov vs Li Ahmet
11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7

At the start of the first round, Samsonov gained the lead immediately in 4-2. However, Li Ahmet surprisingly came strong against Samsonov and followed closely with 5-4 and eventually closed the gap in 5-5. After the tie, Samsonov broke away from Li Ahmet and scored three straight points 8-5. However, Li Ahmet is persistent and quickly tied again in 8-8 then finally took the lead in 9-8. Samsonov quickly returned the favor and tied in 9-9. Samsonov went to match point ahead of Li Ahmet and eventually ended the round in a close score of 11-9.

Li Ahmet took good control over the table at the start of the second round and tied with Samsonov immediately in 2-2, then 3-3. Li Ahmet continued to show some great play and was able to lead in four solid points 7-3, then 8-4. Samsonov, on the other hand, didn’t allow Li Ahmet to enjoy the lead much longer and immediately narrowed his deficit to one point 7-8. However, Li Ahmet reached the match point first with a two point difference 10-8. Samsonov earned one more point before the round ended to Turkey’s Li Ahmet point with an 11-9 score.

After the defeat in second round, Samsonov ushered the first four points at the start of the third round. However, Li Ahmet still made his presence felt after scoring 3-5. Samsonov, unlike in the second round, played so much in control and took a four point lead 7-4. Samsonov reached match point and went straight to winning it in 11-6.

Li Ahmet earned the first point in the fourth round but Samsonov quickly tied in 1-1. Li Ahmet earned 3-4 after he showed great domination in the rally that led Samsonov running to both ends of the table. After that, Li Ahmet managed to tie in 4-4, then 5-5, and eventually taking the lead of two points 7-5. After the lead, Samsonov returned the favor and took the lead 9-7. Towards the end of the round, Li Ahmet managed to tie in 9-9 and eventually reaching the match point ahead of Samsonov, 10-9. Once again, Li Ahmet overcame Samsonov and leveled in 2-2 after a close score of 11-9.

Samsonov took the first blood at the start of the fifth round and eventually earning two more points 3-0. After reaching the third point, Li Ahmet earned his first point 1-3. However, Samsonov continued to dominate the score board and posted a five point lead 6-1. Li Ahmet, despite being in the doldrums, didn’t show any signs of frustration and instead managed to narrow the gap to one point 5-6. After several matches where Li Ahmet really controlled the table, Samsonov requested for a time out. After the time out, Samsonov earned another point 7-5. Towards the end of the round, Li Ahmet seemed exhausted and had long shots, thus Samsonov reached the match point and ended it with an 11-7 score. 

Li Ahmet ushered the first point at the start of the sixth round, but Samsonov tied immediately in 1-1. Samsonov was the first one to take the lead in 3-1 but Li Ahmet managed to tie in 3-3, then tied again in 4-4. After Samsonov earned another point, 5-4, Li Ahmet called for a time out. After the time out, Samsonov came back with two straight points, 7-4. Samsonov reached the match point first and finally ended the match with an 11-7 score. 

Surely, Samsonov had all the requirements to win this match. But, what is more interesting is how Li Ahmet, in some points of the match, played and took good control over the table and overcame Samsonov. So tabletennistas, what do you think are the areas for improvement for Li Ahmet to do better next time?  

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