By Neha Aggarwal
World no. 31 Samara won in one of the most thrilling matches, in full seven games 5-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8.
Sato started the match well grabbing the initial lead. She won the first two games 11-5, 11-8, giving no chance to Samara to get used to her defensive game.
But from the third game onwards, Samara gained her control, and leveled the match 2-2.
“I didnt feel the ball so well in the beginning. Getting used to pimples was hard. But after that I kept the balls safe on the table. I keep a good combination of spin and push. She was also making many mistakes today, I knew that and I was waiting for that.”- Elizabeta Samara
Samara found her rhythm just in time, winning one of the longest matches she has played in recent times, especially after her knee surgery earlier this year.
After the match, she was elated by her win, the celebrations made it clear what the victory means to her. Reaching the round of 16 here in Düsseldorf is special. The last time she made it to this stage was back in 2007, where she beat Japan’s Sayaka Hirano in the round of 32 eventually losing out to Guo Yan (CHN) in the round of 16.
Today, she was a heroine. “The public also really enjoyed the match, we both played such a good game today,” she said.
Japan’s Mima Ito sailed smoothly to the round of 16 beating Hong Kong’s Soo Wai Yam Minnie in straight games (11-6, 11-2 11-8, 11-9). Likewise, Miu Hirano too faced no troubles as she outstaged Chen Szu-Yu (TPE) in five games (11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-5).
World no.1 Ding Ning too progressed into the round of 16 beating Ni Xia Lian (LUX) in an easy four games victory (11-8,11-9,11-6,11-3).