by Ian Marshall and Simon Daish
Petrissa Solja concluded matters in a most impressive manner by beating the host nation’s Stéphanie Loeuillette, the no.16 seed (11-4, 11-6, 11-8), to finish ahead of Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm, the no.7 seed, who at the same time, accounted for Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko, the no.13 seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-7).
“It’s always difficult against Tetyana because she’s a good player but I played very consistently and on the table, so I made her miss which was my plan. Usually when I play against defenders I try to wear them down with my spin and today I succeeded. It was a good start with the three-one victory in the morning Stéphanie Loeuillette. Against Petrissa Solja I had some difficulties, but it was overall a good match, so I cannot be too disappointed”, Matilda Ekholm
However, for Liu Jia it was a much more testing affair; she lost the first two games against the Slovak Republic’s Barbora Balazova, the no.15 seed, before recovering to win the next three and secure victory (9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6).
Success for Liu Jia, in the same group, it was success for Sabine Winter, like Petrissa Solja from Germany. She overcame Russia’s Polina Mikhailova, the no.9 seed (12-10, 11-4, 11-2) to reserve second place in the group and thus a passport to the last eight.
“I won three-nil and okay the first end I was down 4-10 but then I started to play really well and I’m satisfied with my performance. I hope to play well in the next round; perhaps I can win, perhaps not. I have a go and play my game and have some fun”, Sabine Winter
Alas, for Turkey’s Hu Melek, the top seed, it was defeat; she was beaten Liu Jia’s colleague, Sofia Polcanova, the no.11 seed (11-8, 5-11, 11-3, 11-7).
A promising conclusion for Sofia Polcanova but it was her only win of the day; similarly, Hu Melek ended the day with just one victory. Earlier, after losing to Romania’s Daniela Monteiro-Dodean, the no.10 seed (13-11, 11-8, 11-9), she had recovered to beat Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.6 seed (18-16, 13-15, 11-9, 11-13, 12-10).
Meanwhile, for Georgina Pota and Daniela Monteiro-Dodean, the day ended with two wins each and quarter-final places secured. In the concluding session of play, Georgina Pota accounted for Daniela Monteiro-Dodean in five games (11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8) to secure first place in the group ahead of her Romanian adversary.
The win for Georgina Pota was vital in her quest to secure a last eight place; it was exactly the same for Li Jie of the Netherlands, the no.4 seed. Having earlier lost to Vikoria Pavlovich of Belarus, the no.12 seed, she needed to overcome Roman’s hitherto unbeaten Bernadette Szocs, the no.14 seed.
She duly obliged, she won in five games (3-11, 11-2, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6) and thus alongside the Romanian advanced to the main draw. In the counterpart contest, Poland’s Li Qian, the no.5 seed, overcame Viktoria Pavlovich to record her one win of the day (11-6, 11-8, 3-11, 11-13, 11-8).
Li Jie by virtue of the fact she beat Bernadette Szocs, topped the group, ahead of Bernadette Szocs, Li Qian and Viktoria Pavlovich.
2017 ITTF-Europe Top 16: Watch the proceedings unfold, live streaming from Antibes each day