CHENGDU, China, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Germany's star paddler Dimitrij Ovtcharov, who led Group A with two wins here on Friday to qualify for the men's World Cup main draw, told a post-match mixed zone that he's confident back to Chengdu where he took the 2017 China Open crown.
"I've only positive impressions so far of this tournament. In general, since I won the China Open here two years ago, I feel very positive and good impressions to be back in the same city and the same venue," he said.
The highest-ranked player in the preliminary stage, 31, denied a late comeback from club teammate Vladimir Samsonov and beat the 43-year-old Belarus veteran 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6 to wrap up his Group A campaign on top.
"I have some confidence after my first win this morning," said world No. 12 Ovtcharov, who beat the only other Group A member Daniel Habesohn of Australia 11-5, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 7-11, 11-8 earlier on Friday.
"I think I played a good performance (against Samsonov) and I was the deserved winner today. It's very tough for me to play against Samsonov since he's so strong," he added.
In the past decade that China-led Asian powers have dominated the table tennis world, both Ovtcharov and Samsonov have been the big names being mentioned every time when talking about the European male paddlers.
"He's a good friend of mine," said the Ukraine-born German. "We've played together in one team in Russia for over 10 years. He knows me very well, and so I know him.
"I have to figure to surprise him with some kind of tactics, and who's at the best shape on the current day, and who won. Today I was fortunate to play better and stronger," he added.