by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Hu Melek, the no.6 seed, accounted for Germany’s Han Ying, the top seed, emerging successful in a hard fought six games encounter (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9).
Disappointment for Han Ying and it was disappointment once again. Time and time again she has proved the backbone of the German Women’s Team success, none more so than earlier this year at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when beating Ai Fukuhara in the match that secured a place in the final.
“I had to try everything to beat her. It was very long match. Sometimes I felt like I was hitting the wall, everything came back. Han is top World player”, Hu Melek
Alas for the German, in Women’s Singles events in major tournaments, when amongst the top seeded names, she has fallen short.
At the Liebherr 2013 European Championships she was beaten at the semi-final stage of the Women’s Singles event by colleague Shan Xiaona, before last year in Ekaterinburg, suffering defeat in the round of the last eight when confronting Russia’s Polina Mikhailova.
Likewise, in the Women’s Singles event at the Baku 2015 European Games, it was a quarter-final defeat when the top seed as in Ekaterinburg; she was beaten by Li Jie of the Netherlands. Now in 2016 it was same again in Budapest.
Same again for Han Ying, it was same again for Li Jie. At the quarter-final stage in Budapest, the no.5 seed, she accounted for Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm, the no.11 seed (16-14, 14-16, 9-11, 4-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-6) to reserve her semi-final place.
“I started well but then she improved her top spin; it was in great problem, but I did not want to think of it. I just continued to play”, Li Jie
Likewise, there was success for Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the no.7 seed and defending champion; she Kristin Silbereisen, the no.19 seed, as German pain mounted (5-11, 11-13, 11-9, 11-7, 15-13, 13-11).
Defeats for two of three German players who had progressed to the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event, it was defeat for a third.
Petrissa Solja, the no.2 seed, suffered. She mounted a spirited recovery against the Portuguese pen-holder, Fu Yu but it was to prove in vain; a seven games defeat was the eventual outcome (11-8, 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5).
At the semi-final stage Hu Melek meets Li Jie, Elizabeta Samara opposes Fu Yu; play concludes on Sunday 23rd October.