by Ian Marshall & Simon Daish
The no.2 seed, Petrissa Solja beat Austria’s Liu Jia, the no.3 seed (13-11, 7-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-5); Sabine Winter, the no.6 seed, was beaten by Li Jie, the no.4 seed (5-11, 11-7, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6).
Wins, perhaps as status predicted but there are considerations that suggest the results were very difficult to predict.
Liu Jia, now 33 years old, has a wealth of experience and has won the title three times, when the event was known as the Europe Top 12; she succeeded in Rennes in 2005, Lausanne in 2014 and Baku one year later.
Equally, Sabine Winter is most competent against defensive players; in the group stage of proceedings she experienced few problems against Russia’s Polina Mikhailova (12-10, 11-4, 11-2).
Success for the backspin skills of Li Jie, who had a rather knowledgeable coach sitting courtside, one who has experienced success in the prestigious tournament; she is being advised by compatriot, Li Jiao, the winner of the Europe Top 12 on no less than four occasions. She won in 2007 in Arezzo, the following year in Frankfurt but succeeding in 2010 in Düsseldorf prior to retaining the title in 2011 in Liège.
“I’m very proud of Li Jie. I think her chances in the final against Solja will be 50:50. Every time Li and Solja play it is very close, so we will see”, Li Jiao
Places in the final for Li Jie and Petrissa Solja; quite possibly a place in the forthcoming Women’s World Cup for Hungary’s Georgina Pota. She enhanced her chances of a visit to Markham later this year by finishing proceedings in fifth place; she received a walk-over against Romania’s Bernadette Szocs.
Sixth place for Bernadette Szocs; it was eighth position for colleague, Daniela Monteiro-Dodean; she was beaten by Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm (11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6.
Players finishing in the first three places qualify automatically for the World Cup tournaments, the remaining places are decided on World rankings once all continental cup tournaments have concluded.
2017 ITTF-Europe Top 16: Watch the proceedings unfold, live streaming from Antibes each day;