by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The combination of the left handed controlled top spin skills of Matilda Ekholm, who prefers to play a step back from the table, combined with the right handed attacking techniques of Georgina Pota who is at her best close to the table, worked to perfection.
Notably for many years Georgina Pota partnered fellow Hungarian Krisztina Toth, also left handed and not too dissimilar in style to Matilda Ekholm, whilst Matilda Ekholm is used to partnering a right hander; her Mixed Doubles partner is colleague Mattias Karlsson.
“We had really good service and receive, that is the most important thing in doubles. They played with little variation and that made it easy for us. She plays similar to Kriszitna Toth who I played with a lot with so I feel comfortable playing with Matilda. She plays with much spin a bit from the table and has very good variation and that makes it easy for me. She also has really good service and can do any kind of serve so we can have great variation. She uses the spin and I just block”, Georgina Pota.
Similarly, two further left hand and right hand combinations were in total harmony.
Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the top seeds, accounted for the partnership for by Turkey’s Hu Melek and Spain’s Maria Xiao, the no.7 seeds (11-8, 11-6, 11-5); whilst in a similar manner Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching and Lee I-Chen, the no.6 seeds, accounted for Japan’s Hina Hayata and Miyu Kato, the no.6 seeds (11-4, 11-4, 8-11, 12-10).
Jeon Jihee and Lee I-Chen are left handers; Yang Haeun and Cheng I-Ching are right handers.
“We had good tactics and it worked out perfectly so we got the to play so it suits us. She covers the whole table and all angles. It makes it very easy for me. I feel safe to return the ball in any direction because she is so good and safe. It is similar to when I play mixed doubles with Mattias Karlsson, he also covers everything”, Matilda Ekholm
Success for the higher seeded pairs; it was exactly the same in the one remaining round of last eight contest. Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, the no.2 seeds and winners the previous week in Austria, ended the hopes of the combination formed by Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Romania’s Bernadette Szocs (11-5, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8).
At the semi-final stage Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun meet Matilda Ekholm and Georgina Pota; Cheng I-Ching and Lee I-Chen oppose Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato.