Hungarian dominance in Skopje
The historic year for FITEQ (International Teqball Federation) has begun in Skopje, North Macedonia with the season’s first event where Europe’s best teqers faced each other on the road to Kraków, the European Games and eleven out of fifteen medals were taken by Hungarians.
Hungarian players ruled women’s singles as world ranking 10th Zsanett Janicsek (HUN) reached the finals after the triumph against her fellow teqers Krisztina Acs (2:1) in the Quarterfinals and Boglarka Nagy (2:0) in the semis. While on the other side as one of the biggest surprises, world ranking 32nd Gabriella Kota also from Hungary qualified to the final against WR leader Anna Izsak (2:1).
In the golden match Kota won the first set by only one point. Although she dominated at the beginning of the second set and went ahead by four, after a time-out Janicsek fought back and equalized at 6:6. The opponents continued head-to-head with multiple little mistakes, none of them grew over the other one but finally Janicsek brought it home after Kota started to struggle with her ankle.
Although Kota returned to the final set she could not register her best single result in her career by winning the European Teqball Tour Skopje as Janicsek quickly developed a six-point lead and never looked back. With this victory, she continued her single’s path where she left it in 2022 as Janicsek won in Budapest at her last single competition.
“I had very strong opponents in the knockout stage, so luck was not with me during the draw but I am very happy that I won because this year my focus is on the singles and I want to qualify to the world championships in this category as well.” – says Janicsek after the final.
Gabriella Kota (HUN) – Zsanett Janicsek (HUN) 1:2 (12:11, 10:12, 4:12)
As a consolation Izsak won the bronze game against Nagy (2:1) which meant that the first four position were taken by Hungarians.
World ranking first against the second met in men’s single final as the title holder Apor Gyorgydeak (ROU) advanced there confidently while four-times world champion Adam Blazsovics (HUN) went to the golden match without a single set loss. In the absolute world-class matchup the record champion started better however the winner of Nuremberg fought back and equalized at 8:8, however with a great smash Blazsovics took the first set. Gyorgydeak did not give any chance in the second with great counter-attacks, so the rivals had a final course. The Hungarian took advantage with his strong serves and scored multiple points with aces yet at 7:7 Gyorgydeak tied the score and “Blazso” called a timeout, which helped him and broke the current title holder’s momentum.
“In the last month I had a lot of trainings and as I get my confidence from practice it helped me. I am especially happy that I revenged the semi-finals at the WCh against Duszak, it hunted me since then. Not to mention that my tactics, to be more aggressive at serves worked well. For this season’s goals, this was a perfect beginning and I want to finish each event on the podium.” – shares his happiness Blazsovics after the final.
For the bronze medal Csaba Banyik (HUN) played against the Polish Adrian Duszak and won (2:0) with two close sets. While the biggest surprise came from Lionel Beyer (FRA) who was 36th in the world ranking before the event in the capital of North Macedonia and knocked out the Hungarian Barna Kovacsfi (WR25) in the last 16, then advanced against Martin Csereklye (WR9) another Hungarian and only Adrian Duszak stopped him in three very close sets.
Apor Gyorgydeak (ROU) – Adam Blazsovics (HUN) 1:2 (11:12, 12-6, 10:12)
Familiar faces returned to the table in women’s doubles final as the Janicsek/Vasas dou met Acs and Kota. The Hungarian dominance among women was highlighted well as both in singles and doubles every medal was taken by the nation.
After Kota got injured in the singles final, her partner Acs also needed medical attention in the first set. As the match continued the doubles went head-to-head however Janicsek/Vasas with two defended set points took the first set. Long rallies went on-and-on between the opponents but the world ranking leader pair won this close set again and got the title.
“We complement each other perfectly and our key is that we have a very good relationship off the court as well. As among the women’s doubles we are the title holders and WR leaders, we want to keep our performance on the highest level and although this competition was in January and we did not feel ready yet with two gold medals I can say that a great season is ahead of me and us with Lea” – sums up her experiences Janicsek after the triumph in women’s doubles.
Women’s doubles’ final
Lea Vasas & Zsanett Janicsek (HUN) – Krisztina Acs & Gabriella Kota (HUN) 2:0 (12:11, 12:9)
For the bronze Pechy and Vicsek (HUN) challenged Dako & Barabasi (ROU) and succeeded by 2:0.
Vasas returned to the table five minutes later next to Adam Bako for the final of mixed doubles against the French pair Amelie Julian and Hugo Rabeux. None of the couple left any sets on the table during the knockout stage but with great serves from Bako in the starting set it has changed and the Hungarian side went 1:0 ahead. In the upcoming round with long and spectacular rallies the white-shirted duo kept their game on the highest level and not even the French squad’s timeout distracted them.
“Our great cohesion gives the base to perform always on the top. Starting the year with two golds mean we are on the perfect way to have even better results than last year” – says Vasas.
“I was devastated after men’s doubles but the mixed always brings my hopes back. We put a lot of effort to be at where we are right now and with Lea I feel nothing can stop us.” – points out Bako.
The bronze medals were won by Maja Umicevic and Nikola Mitro from Serbia in three close sets against the Hungarian duo Nora Vicsek & Matyas Odnoga.
Mixed doubles’ final
Lea Vasas & Adam Bako (HUN) - Amelie Julian & Hugo Rabeux (FRA) 2:0 (12:6,12:10)
The European Teqball Tour Skopje ended with the men’s doubles final. Three-time world champion Nikola Mitro and his partner Bogdan Marojevic from Serbia returned to men’s finals without any single lost set after having won this category in Nuremberg last year. Csaba Banyik and Balazs Katz (HUN) waited for them but the title holders did not stop and won the first set confidently. Banyik & Katz took an early six-points lead in the second set and with huge smashes equalized to 1:1.
Tension was huge between the sides and with multiple edge balls and lucky touches the Serbians kept up with the great server Hungarians. Mitro and Marojevic saved many huge smashes from Bányik and took the lead. After four points in a row for the world champions the score was 7:3. With saving four game points, the Huns came back and had a head-to-head at 11:11. In the final rally Mitro served, Katz received it and prepared for another enormous Bányik smash which was impossible to play back.
With this triumph Bányik’s record stays alive as being unbeaten in men’s doubles since August of 2022. Since then, he participated in five events in this category and won all of them
“We push each other to evolve all the time and that drive us. In the final set, after we survived four or five game points at 11:7, we started to believe that we can win.” – explains Banyik.
“I am better in receiving and preparing while Bence is better with serves and smashes but to be the best you constantly need to develop your skills and this is what we do, thus we can stay unbeaten.” – clarified Katz the reason of their success.
Men’s doubles’ final
Nikola Mitro & Bogdan Marojevic (SRB) – Csaba Banyik & Balazs Katz (HUN) 1:2 (12:7, 4:12,13:15)
Men’s single winner Blazsovics and his partner Adam Bako (HUN) won the bronze medal game against Szabolcs Ilyes and men’s single silver medallist Apor Gyorgydeak.
The next Teqball event will be held in Los Angeles, USA betwenn 24 and 26 of February as the second occasion of USA Teqball Tour.