20 Oct 2016

Success for one former champion, defeat for another; that was the situation as the first round of the Women’s Singles event commenced at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Thursday 20th October.

Viktoria Pavlovich, the winner in Ostrava in 2010 and once again in Herning in 2012, emerged successful; for Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene, crowned champion in 2008 in St Petersburg, it was defeat.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Ruta Paskauskiene, who had been required to compete in the qualification stage of proceedings, was beaten by the Slovak Republic’s Eva Odorova, the no.31 seed (9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5, 11-8).

A result as status suggested; it was the same for Viktoria Pavlovich. The no.14 seed, she accounted for Poland’s Natalia Bajor (11-1, 11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8).

Defeat for Poland and there was a further reverse for the northern European country, only in the instance of Natalia Partyka it was against the odds. The no.26 seed, she was beaten by the host nation’s Szandra Pergel (11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 12-10, 12-10), being one of three players who had received a direct entry to the main draw to experience an opening round exit.

“It was not that easy as the result predicts. We know each other very well and it is very hard to play against her. Now I do not feel the pressure since I recorded the win in the main draw”, Szandra Pergel.

In addition, Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, the no.23 seed, suffered at the hands of Spain’s Maria Xiao (1-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7); the Czech Republic’s Renata Strbikova, the no.28 seed, was beaten in close seven games duel by Sara Ramirez as Spain enjoyed more success (4-11, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2, 12-10).

Surprises but not where the most prominent names in the top half of the draw were concerned.

However, there was one very close call; Germany’s Shan Xiaona, the no.3 seed, needed to full seven games to beat Stéphanie Loeuillette (11-6, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 12-14, 11-5).

Testing times for Shan Xiaona; for colleague, Han Ying, the top seed, life was less traumatic; she beat Spain’s Zhang Xuan in four straight games (11-6, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2).

“This was my first match after the Olympic Games and it was much harder than I expected.  I am here for gold, as are many players, but to have any medal in the treasury by the end of the week, it would be nice”, Han Ying

A comfortable win for Han Ying; it was the same for Li Jie of the Netherlands, the no.5 seed and the runner up one year ago, as it was for Turkey’s Hu Melek.

Li Jie beat Slovenia’s Manca Fajmut (11-4, 11-3m 11-4, 11-5); Hu Melek overcame Alina Arlouskaya of Belarus (11-3, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6).

“Manca played very well but she kept struggling when I changed the pace of the my game. It is good, I had an easy match at the start of the competition. I needed it because I had only one month to rest after the Olympics and my legs are still very heavy. I need few matches to get into the tournament”, Li Jie

The second round of the Women’s Singles event will be played on Friday 21st October.

Liebherr EC Viktoria Pavlovich Ruta Paskauskiene