by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Operations directed by Hunor Szocs, the European duo emerged the more consistent as Hugo Hoyama, a living legend of Brazilian sport, urged Gui Lin and Bruna Takahashi to greater heights; however, when crisis loomed Bernadette Szocs and Audrey Zarif stood firm.
“It is the first time we played doubles together and it was very good. The match was not easy, all the games were very close, but we were smarter and made changes, I think that is why we won. We have a good relationship because we are really good friends; we made a good pair and we believed in each other.” Bernadette Szocs
Arguably the turning point in the match came in the second game. Trailing by one game to nil and down 7-8 in the second game, quite understandably Hugo Hoyama called “Time Out”. The break had an immediate effect; Gui Lin and Bruna Takahashi won the next two points but were never able to build on the slight advantage.
Bernadette Szocs and Audrey Zarif levelled at 9-all, they held game point at 10-9; it was saved, at 11-10 second chance beckoned, it was seized.
“Every time the game was so close, so if you see only the score, you can think it was easy but it was not. We are very happy. It was the first time we play together. It’s the first time I won the doubles. “ Audrey Zarif
Now the momentum was with Europe, the Brazilians fought bravely but in the third game Bernadette Szocs and Audrey Zarif took an early lead and never looked back.
“We played a good match, we had some problems. We failed in some points and that made the difference. It is some time since we have played doubles together.” Bruna Takahashi
It was the second time that Bruna Takahashi had appeared in an ITTF Challenge Series final; the one other occasion was two years ago in Chile when she had emerged successful with her colleague, Leticia Nakada.
“We made some mistakes during the match which probably was decisive for the final result but we have to look on the bright side; we should learn from the mistakes and improve more and more.” Gui Lin
Meanwhile, for Bernadette Szocs and Audrey Zarif, either together or apart, it was their first appearance in a Women’s Doubles final on either the ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series; a successful debut.