23 Oct 2016

Finalists just over one year ago in Ekaterinburg when Romania’s Elizabeta Samara beat Li Jie of the Netherlands to claim the top prize; one year later in the Hungarian capital city of Budapest, the bronze medal is their lot.

At the semi-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships on Sunday 23rd October, each departed proceedings.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In contests which both witnessed upsets according to current status, Li Jie, the no.5 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of Turkey’s Hu Melek, the no.6 seed (11-5, 11-3, 11-3, 11-6); in a much closer contest Fu Yu, the no.9 seed, recorded a full distance seven games success in opposition to Elizabeta Samara, the no.7 seed (11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 11-13, 12-14, 11-8, 11-8).

Success for Fu Yu was a reversal of fortunes; she had met Elizabeta Samara on one previous occasion on the international scene, they confronted each other in the TMS 2014 World Team Championships in Lisbon, Portugal. On that occasion, Elizabeta Samara had won with the surrender of just one game.

Meanwhile, for Hu Melek, the win underlined her current liking a notable improvement against the defensive art.

On the ITTF World Tour in Slovenia in 2011, Hu Melek had experienced a straight games defeat when facing Li Jie; four years later in 2015, again on the ITTF World Tour, she beat Li Jie in five games in the Czech Republic, before recording a straight games success at the Women’s World Cup in Sendai.

Pertinently, one round earlier, at the quarter-final stage in Budapest, Hu Melek had overcome the backspin skills of Germany’s Han Ying the top seed (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9).

It is the first time that a player representing either Portugal or Turkey has reached the final of a Women’s Singles event at a European Championships.

Liebherr EC Elizabeta Samara Li Jie Hu Melek Fu Yu