24 Feb 2017

A brave effort but for the partnership comprising the Slovak Republic’s Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova, the semi-final stage of proceedings witnessed the end of adventures in the Women’s Doubles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open in Doha.

Not seeded, they experienced a four games defeat at the hands of top seeds, Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun (9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Nevertheless, the European partnership can be more than satisfied with their efforts; the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open is a Platinum Series tournament, the very highest level on the agenda.

Equally, Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun staved off difficult adversaries; the power executed by the forehand of Barbora Balazova has been a key factor in the progress to the round of the last four.

“Play to the backhand when playing towards Barbora; that was crucial, her forehand is so strong. Also, it was really important that we played short. Jeon Jihee is very good playing her forehand topspin; she puts a lot of spin on the ball; that helps me to attack strongly on the next ball”, Yang Haeun

“I didn’t feel too nervous, Yang Haeun is there next to me and that calms me down and gives me confidence”, Jeon Jihee

Success for the seeded pair, in the opposite half of the draw it was success for the non-seeded partnership.

China’s Chen Meng and Wang Manyu accounted for Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.2 seeds; they emerged victorious in a tense five games contest (11-3, 12-10, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8)

“This is the best of the three matches that we have played so far, especially in the first two games where we got into the match fairly quickly. They made some changes in the third game and attacked more; it turned out to be effective for them as we were passive in that game. In the last game, we had to play longer rallies where our strength lies; that helped us to win. It is the first time I’m pairing with Chen Meng, so this victory gave us a lot of confidence boost for the final.”

I was really nervous at the start in our first match, because I’m still young, I didn’t really know what to expect. We have built more trust between each other through these three matches. Now that we are in the final, we certainly want to play better. We are the only Chinese women’s pair to compete here. Both Men’s pairs have been knocked out, it definitely gives us more pressure to do well in the finalbut it’s also a big motivation for us to win.”

The final will be played on Sunday 26th February.

World Tour 2017 Seamaster Qatar Open Chen Meng Wang Manyu Doo Hoi Kem Jeon Jihee Yang Haeun Lee Ho Ching Hana Matelova Barbora Balazova

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