23 Oct 2016

Impressive en route to the final; Turkey’s Hu Melek maintained her outstanding form of earlier in the competition to win the Women’s Singles title at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships on Sunday 23rd October in Budapest, Hungary.

Occupying the no.6 seeded position in the competition, she beat Portugal’s Fu Yu, the no.9 seed, in five games (11-3, 11-2, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7) at the final hurdle to secure the top step of the podium.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

It was one of the most comprehensive performances in the history of the Women’s Singles event at a European Championships; the pen-hold skills of Fu Yu presenting minimal problems.

She surrendered just five games on her way to the title; in addition to the one game lost in the final, she was extended to six games in the third round by Russia’s Polina Mikhailova (7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9) and the quarter-finals by Germany’s Han Ying (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9).

One wonders to what extent the result in Budapest could prove a watershed in her career, always competitive, many times in the latter stages but the top prize has proved elusive.

“I am happy the way I played today. I am not afraid any more of the pen-holders. I was very confident and I had a good feeling for the ball”, Hu Melek

Arguably her best previous performance came at the Liebherr 2013 World Championships in Paris when she reached the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event, losing to China’s eventual silver medallist Liu Shiwen.

Prior to her efforts in the French capital city; runners up spot on the ITTF World Tour in Cairo in 2010 was a performance of note.

Perhaps, that result underlines her progress; in Egypt she beaten in the final by the Japanese defender, Yuka Ishigaki.

“She was very fast. I had no answer to her game”, Fu Yu

In Budapest, she proved most adept against the backspin art; in addition to Polina Mikhailova and Han Ying; in the opening round she had beaten Alina Arlouskaya of Belarus (11-3, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6), before earlier on the concluding day defeating Li Jie of the Netherlands in the semi-finals (11-5, 11-3, 11-3, 11-6).

Success and for both Hu Melek and Fu Yu, a moment of history; they are the first players from their respective national associations to reach a European Championships Women’s Singles final.

Liebherr EC Fu Yu Hu Melek