by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Listed at no.20 on the current Women’s World Rankings, she is not only the player who spearheads German ambitions; additionally she is at the vanguard of European aspirations. The only higher rated female player from the old continent on duty in the German city is Austria’s Liu Jia, presently named in the no.15 spot.
In Düsseldorf, Petrissa Solja is the no.13 seed in the Women’s Singles event; alongside colleague Sabine Winter, the no.10 Women’s Doubles seed and in harness with Fang Bo, the no.7 seed in the Mixed Doubles event.
It is very much the latter combination which attracts the attention and is arguably the event which affords Petrissa Solja the best chance of a medal.
One thinks back to two years ago in Suzhou when Xu Xin partnered Korea’s Yang Haeun to gold and Fang Bo reached the Men’s Singles final; the combination of the left handed Petrissa Solja in harness with the powerful Fang Bo, whatever the seeding may read, is a most powerful partnership. In many eyes with Petrissa Solja having home advantage, the duo owns the tag of being favourites.
However, whilst to win a medal in the Women’s Singles event might not have the same possibilities, do not discount Petrissa Solja; already this year she has impressed. In February, she reached the Women’s Singles final at the Europe Top 16 in Antibes where at the end of the fourth game against Li Jie of the Netherlands, she was forced to withdraw, suffering from an arm injury.
Equally, at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Korea Open, she won the Women’s Doubles event in partnership with Shan Xiaona; however, Shan Xiaona is not eligible to play in the Liebherr 2017 World Championships.
A disadvantage for Petrissa Solja, not all; she lines up alongside Sabine Winter in the Women’s Doubles competition, the player with whom she has enjoyed success at the European Championships and suffered despair.
In 2013 in Schwechat, Petrissa Solja and Sabine Winter won the Women’s Doubles title; last year in Budapest partnering Shan Xiaona, the duo suffered defeat in the final, they were beaten by Kristin Silbereisen and a certain Sabine Winter.
Again, as in the Women’s Singles event Petrissa Solja is a candidate for Women’s Doubles success but it will be a tough task.
Might it prove that mixed fortunes prove the best fortunes?