by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Disappointment matched with delight; for Germany it was the latter, both Chantal Mantz and Wan Yuan reserved semi-final places.
Wan Yan, 19 years old, gave what was arguably the most impressive performance of the round.
“Unlike yesterday, today I was very calm. I found and settled into the rhythm instantly”, Wan Yuan
The the no.8 seed, she accounted for Spain’s Zhang Xuan in four straight games (11-7, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5); the result somewhat in contrast to that of her colleague Chantal Mantz. Occupying the no.3 seeded position in the competition, she needed to full seven games to beat Czech Republic qualifier, Zdena Blaskova, only emerging successful by the very minimal two point margin in the decider (8-11, 12-14, 11-2, 8-11, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10).
“I did not have any special tactics I can explain. Everything was in my head”, Chantal Mantz after beating Zdena Blaskova
Likewise for both Mariia Tailakova, the full seven games were needed to secure victory as they were for Belgium’s Lisa Lung.
“I was very nervous and under great pressure. It was very important for me to show my best performance in front of the home crowd. I won the opening game but then I started to rush. The game become very quick and I lost the control; that is why I had to change the tactics, to slow down and to try to organize my game better. I succeeded, but it was very close,” Mariia Tailakova after overcoming Natalia Bajor
Mariia Tailakova, the no.7 seed, caused somewhat of an upset by beating Poland’s Natalia Bajor, the no.4 seed (11-4, 6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 10-12, 12-10, 11-8); Lisa Lung prevailed in the battle of the qualifiers; she overcame Ekaterina Guseva (8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9).
“I seized my opportunity. I realized from the beginning that Guseva was very nervous. I know her very well. I was prepared to be very aggressive; I tried to play point by point”, Lisa Lung after defeating Ekaterina Guseva
At the semi-final stage Chantal Mantz meets Mariia Tailakova, Wan Yuan opposes Lisa Lung.
Proceedings conclude in Sunday 5th February.
Latest results: Stag European Under 21 Championships.