by Simon Daish
Prior to the match Romania held a three point advantage over the Netherlands, and with the previous encounter between the two countries going in the favour of the Romanians their dream of taking top spot was moving ever closer to becoming a reality.
However, the Netherlands was still in with a shout of finishing first in the group but knew that two wins from the remaining two qualifying group matches against Romania and Greece and a favourable match win ratio was required to be in with a chance of claiming the group.
Britt Eerland was in superb form for the Netherlands as the world no.76 grabbed a brace with victories over Daniela Monteiro Dodean (10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 13-11, 8-11) and Elizabeta Samara (9-11, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11) who are ranked 44th and 20th respectively in January’s ITTF World Rankings table.
Yet with Elizabeta Samara beating Rianne van Duin in the opener (11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-7) and Bernadette Szocs picking up a crucial fifth game win over Li Jie in the third tie (11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5) a final match was required, and Daniela Monteiro Dodean ensured Romania’s success when she saw off Rianne van Duin in straight games (11-4, 11-8, 11-2).
Germany will have an opportunity to defends its Women’s Team title after the reigning champions gave the Berlin crowd much to cheer about following the home side’s 3-1 win against Slovenia.
Despite Slovenia’s Alex Galic picking up a positive result against Wan Yuan (13-15, 10-12, 6-11), wins for Nina Mittelham over Manca Fajmut (17-15, 14-12, 11-9) and Alex Galic (11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 19-17) alongside Kristin Silbereisen’s victory against Ana Tofant (11-1, 6-11, 11-9, 11-3) proved enough to guarantee top spot in group A for Germany.
Elsewhere across the qualifying group stage Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary all hold eight points in their respective groups while Portugal and France also sit top of their groups.
The penultimate group F match between Austria and Wales is set to take place on Thursday 26th January.