by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success for Germany but for the host nation it was desperate disappointment; Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, the no.5 seeds, suffered what may be considered an unexpected defeat.
They were beaten by the very narrowest of margins when confronting the combination formed by Kristin Silbereisen and Sabine Winter, the no.7 seeds (7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9).
A surprise, I would argue that the contest was in the balance; it was the same in the second semi-final, where status prevailed. Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja, the no.2 seeds, accounted for the Romanian combination of Daniela Monteiro-Dodean and Elizabeta Samara, the no.4 seeds (14-12, 10-12, 11-4, 3-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8).
Defeat for the Romanians meant that a third appearance in European Championships Women’s Doubles final was denied. In 2009 in Stuttgart and in 2012 in Herning, Daniela Monteiro-Dodean and Elizabeta Samara had won the title.
In Stuttgart they beat the Italian pairing of Wenling Tan Monfardini and Nikoleta Stefanova to claim the top prize; in Herning the victims in the title decider were Hungary’s Georgina Pota and Krisztina Toth.
Thus an all-German final awaits. It is only the second time in the history of the European Championships which dates back to 1958, that one national association has provided all four players in the Women’s Doubles final.
Over four decades ago it nearly happened, in 1972 in Rotterdam, Hungary’s Judit Magos and Henriette Lotaller beat England’s Jill Hammersley and Beatrix Kishazi, also from Hungary.
Three out of four in 1972, the only time it has been four out of four was recently in 2013 in Schwechat.
Furthermore, three of the players involved in that final will be involved in the Liebherr 2016 European Championships gold medal contest but on different sides of the net.
In 2013, Petrissa Solja and Sabine Winter beat Zhenqi Barthel and Shan Xiaona to claim gold; in Budapest one player will regain the title but which one?