18 Oct 2016

Hinting that this may be her last, Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene, the one former champion required to compete in the qualification stage of the Women’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships, made a successful start to her campaign by remaining unbeaten on the opening day of action, Tuesday 18th October, in the Hungarian capital city of Budapest.

The winner in 2008 in the historic Russian city of St Petersburg but not named amongst the 32 seeded players who received a direct entry to the main draw, the 39 year old encountered only minimal problems in her initial contests.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Impressively, experience counted as she recorded straight games wins over the Slovak Republic’s Eva Jurkova (11-9, 11-6, 11-5, 11-3) and Ukraine’s Ievgeniia Vasylieva (11-6, 11-2, 11-5, 11-4).

Likewise, there was success for the other leading names on first stage duty in an event which witnesses 79 players drawn into 19 groups.

Ukraine’s Ganna Gapanova duly completed her day with an unblemished record, as did Spain’s Galia Dvorak and Maria Xiao. Likewise it a trouble free day for the host nation’s Szandra Pergel, Romania’s Camelia Iacob and Austria Li Qiangbing.

None experienced the pressure of a deciding game; however, for Britt Eerland of the Netherlands, the European Youth champion in 2010, the third highest rated on initial phase duty, it a day without defeat but there were some anxious moments.

In one of three groups that involves five players, Britt Eerland overcame Latvia’s Diana Rusinova in four straight games (11-5, 11-5, 11-5, 11-3) before finding life in her next two encounters much more exacting.

She needed the full seven games to beat Ukraine’s Nataliya Aleksyeyenko (9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8), before in just one game less, overcoming Croatia’s Dorina Srebrnjak (11-3, 12-10, 10-12, 10-12, 11-6, 11-5).

Players finishing in first place in each of the 19 groups advance to join the 32 seeds in the main draw. Seven players finishing in second places progress with the remaining 12 runners up competing in a preliminary round, the winners gaining main draw places.

The preliminary round will commence at 6.00pm on Wednesday 19th October.

Liebherr 2016 European Championships: Watch live on Laola 1.TV

Liebherr EC Britt Eerland Ruta Paskauskiene