by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The no.5 seeds, they fought back from a two games to nil deficit to overcome the combination of Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and the Czech Republic’s Renata Strbikova (2-11, 9-11, 11-4, 15-13, 11-8); a pair combining for the first time ever and admitted they were there to enjoy and have fun.
Fun at the start but not as matters progressed; undoubtedly the crucial stage of the engagement was in the fourth game when Elizabeta Samara and Renata Strbikova recovered from an 8-10 deficit to level matters but were never able to complete the recovery.
In the vital fifth and deciding game the early advantage gained by Matilda Ekholm and Georgina Pota at 4-1 and then 5-3 proved crucial.
“It was very difficult playing against them as they both are very unpredictable players and they can change the variation of the ball in a thousand ways. Usually we have a lot of control over the game but they started very well and it took us longer to adjust. We also knew if we had to be consistent they would eventually start missing.” Matilda Ekholm
Winners on the ITTF World Tour last year in the Czech Republic when beating Russia’s Maria Dolgikh and Polina Mikhailova to claim the top prize; the appearance in Slovenia was their third in a Women’s Doubles final this year.
On the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour, they were the runners up in Hungary, beaten by China’s Chen Xingtong and Li Jiayi in the title decider; later in India they emerged successful accounting for Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching to reserve the top step of the podium.
In Otocec they won again.