Florent Lambiet uttered a famous cry of victory on Monday afternoon in Doha, where he defeated Russian Sidorenko, 18 years old and world No. 186, in the semifinals of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. After leading two sets to zero (12-10, 11-7), the Liege, 25 years old and world No. 104, lost the third (8-11). But he did not let himself be disconcerted at all and moved forward to pocket the fourth round (11-3).
Faced with this young Russian, more whimsical than regular, who had nothing to lose, Florent weakened slightly in the exchange, so much so that he was joined in three sets everywhere (5-11, 9-11) . Pushed to a seventh set for the second time of the day, the Liege was in danger, both physically and mentally. After leading 5-3, he was passed at 6-8, the Russian releasing improbable but victorious shots.
But, in this particularly tense context, Florent Lambiet managed to keep a cool head, reversed the score to 10-8. Then, at 10-9, he did not miss the opportunity to win (11-9) and thus qualify for the final of this TQO, the winner of which will be awarded a ticket for the Tokyo Games! In the final, Florent will meet Hungarian Majoros, world No. 60, victorious over Romanian Ionescu, also 4-3.
Previously, Florent Lambiet had signed an incredible turnaround against the Italian Bobocica, world No. 123. Led three sets to zero (5-11, 13-15, 5-11), the Liege had aligned four victorious sets. The first two by 11-9 and 11-5 to return to 2-3. Then, after saving two match points, at 8-10, in the sixth set, Florent won 12-10 to restore equality (3-3) in the number of sets.
On its way, our compatriot continued, then, by winning the seventh set (11-6).
This Sunday, the Liege was the only Belgian survivor of the preliminary rounds, winning his two matches. The first, against Qatari Al-Mohannadi, unranked, with a score of 4-0 (13-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-7) and the second, against Iranian Alamiyan, no. 73, winning by 4-1 (11-3, 11-8, 13-11, 9-11, 11-7).