By Liam Morgan

Dimitrij Ovtcharov beat defending champion Marcos Freitas to seal his qualification spot for the 2015 ITTF Men's World Cup ©ITTFDimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany and Austria's Liu Jia claimed gold at the NN Table Tennis Club 2015 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-Europe Top 16 Cup in Baku.

By virtue of their success in the Azerbaijani capital, both Ovtcharov and Liu secured their berths at the 2015 ITTF Men's and Women's World Cups.

Top seed Ovtcharov secured a stunning comeback victory in his final against defending champion Marcos Freitas of Portugal, recovering from a 3-1 deficit to clinch the title in a seven-game thriller.

"Actually I was not playing badly, I was in the lead in the first game, but when I lost it, it gave advantage to Marcos," he said.

"He played very well today, and I had to give my best.

"It was especially difficult in the final after the tough semi-final against Panagiotis [Gionis].

"After that tense semi-final match, the main task for me was to calm down and to prepare myself for the final."

Liu Jia took the womens honours with a five-game victory over Germany's Petrissa Solja ©ITTFLiu Jia took the womens honours with a five-game victory over Germany's Petrissa Solja ©ITTF

In the women's final, German Petrissa Solja could not quite follow suit as she came up against a the imperious Liu, who exhibited fine form throughout on her way to a five-game win.

After the Austrian lost the opening game 11-3, the defending champion hit back to level the contest before Solja, who was seeded ninth at the tournament, restored her lead by taking the third.

But Liu demonstrated the character of a champion by clawing her way back into the match, eventually coming through with a 3-11, 14-12, 8-11, 3-11, 9-11 triumph.

"I think Petrissa was a little bit nervous and on the other hand I played one of my best matches here," the victorious Austrian said.

"It was the same as last year; I had very close matches here as well, the one against Kristin Silberseisen was the most difficult."

The event provides Europe's competitors with the chance of qualifying for the prestigious World Cup, and Ovtcharov will be joined in the men's tournament, which will be staged in the Swedish city of Halmstad, by losing finalist Freitas, as well as Panagiotis of Greece after he beat Simon Gauzy of France to seal third place.

At the women's World Cup, Solja and compatriot Irene Ivancan will compete against Liu.

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