Dimitrij Ovtcharov defended his men's singles title ©Getty Images

Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov defended his men’s singles title at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) European Championships in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg after an impressive display in the gold medal match against Portugal’s Marcos Freitas.

The number one seed had accounted for Freitas’ compatriot Tiago Apolonia in the semi-finals with a straight games 11-5, 13-11, 11-9, 11-7 win, while the Portuguese star had been forced to seven games by Sweden’s Per Gerell before eventually triumphing 6-11, 11-3, 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 13-11, 11-8.

Freitas made a positive start in the final but was edged by Ovtcharov at the end of a tight opening game which ended 14-12, before he bounced back in the second game to level the match.

But Ovtcharov displayed why he had been unbeaten throughout the singles and team competitions by restoring his advantage, winning the crucial third game 11-9 to re-establish control of the match before dominating the next two games to earn a 14-12, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 win.

The result meant that Germany continued their domination of the event with Ovtcharov having claimed the last two editions, following Timo Boll’s three consecutive wins from 2010 to 2012.

“It was wonderful tournament, one of the best in which I have ever played," said Ovtcharov.

“Marcos pushed me to the limits, it brought the best out of me; the final was an epic battle with the fantastic service, return, a powerful match, I am proud I was part of it.”

Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, who was part of the country's silver medal winning team, secured the women’s singles title after coming from behind to beat The Netherlands’ Li Jie.

Elizabeta Samara secured her first European women's singles title
Elizabeta Samara secured her first European women's singles title ©Getty Images

The former European youth champion had claimed the opening game 11-6 but lost two quick games to Jie and found herself playing catch up throughout the remainder of the match as she first levelled the tie by winning the fourth game 11-7, before having to achieve the same feat in the sixth to force a decider.

Having kept the match alive Samara maintained the momentum in the final game to complete the comeback to secure a thrilling 11-6, 9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-4, 11-4 win.

Russia’s Polina Mikhailova, who was beaten in five games by the eventual champion in the semi-final, secured a bronze in addition to Portugal’s Fu Yu.

Despite her victory in the singles Samara would be forced to settle for silver in the women’s doubles event as she was unable to combine with her countrywoman Georgina Pota as they fell to a 11-4, 11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 11-4 defeat to Turkey’s Hu Melek and Spain’s Shen Yanfei.

One of the biggest surprises of the day was a victory for Austria’s Stefan Fegerl and Portugal’s João Monteiro in the men’s doubles event as the duo, playing together for the first time, reached the final before overcoming top seeds Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn of Austria.

Fegerl and Monteiro took a two game lead to the surprise of the crowd but the momentum abruptly shifted in the favour of the Austrian pairing who levelled the match with some excellent shots.

The pairings then traded the fifth and sixth games to take the match into a decider which Fegerl and Monteiro eventually edged to take gold with a 11-9, 14-12, 6-11, 8-11. 13-15, 11-8, 12-10 triumph.

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