14 Sep 2017

The evening of Wednesday 13th September hosted more Women's Championship Division action at the Liebherr 2017 ITTF-European Championships in Luxembourg, and there was a dramatic encounter in Group C as Austria and Portugal played out a thrilling match that went right down to the wire.

by Simon Daish

Austria and Portugal entered the tie off the back of opening match successes and both sides had ambitions to take advantage of the group after the first day of action at the d’Coque Arena.

Sofia Polcanova gave Austria the lead defeating Shao Jieni in three ends (11-6, 11-8, 12-10), but Portugal responded well as Yu Fu pulled off a fantastic comeback result against Liu Jia (14-12, 11-7, 7-11, 5-11, 8-11).

Again the Austrians moved ahead in the tie following Amelie Solja’s triumph over Leila Oliveira (11-6, 14-12, 12-10), but Portugal hit back as Shao Jieni made up for her early defeat with a win against Liu Jia (11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 1-11, 5-11). The match was eventually decided by Sofia Polcanova, who registered her second victory of the tie beating Yu Fu (8-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7) to give Austia four points in the group.

Defending gold medallists Germany claimed a second consecutive win in Group A, condemning opponents Hungary to a 3-0 defeat.

Han Ying and Shan Xiaona achieved positive results for Germany in the opening two fixtures of the match against Dora Madarasz (11-2, 6-11, 11-7, 11-4) and Szandra Pergel (11-9, 11-9, 11-3). Nina Mittelham eliminated any doubts, prevailing over Mercedes Nagyvaradi (11-5, 11-5, 11-9) to seal the two points on offer.

“I felt no stress, it was easy to finish the match after being 2-0 in front, but we still had to fight for a satisfying result. Additionally the atmosphere from the supporters and within the team increases the fun. We won our first two matches relatively easy, which is a good start to the competition. We will play to win the next game. I don’t know if I will play in the next match, but in any case the team can rely on our strong players”, Nina Mittelham.

Sweden opened its account in the evening session of play with Li Fen’s victories over Croatian rivals Mirela Durak (11-9, 11-6, 11-6) and Dorina Srebrnjak (11-4, 11-5, 11-5) proving highly important.

Linda Bergstrom also contributed a five games win against Mateja Jeger (11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 11-8) but there was an air of disappointment for Matilda Ekholm, who lost out to Dorina Srebrnjak (11-6, 13-11, 9-11, 9-11, 7-11) and is still awaiting her first win at the tournament.

“After losing the first match, this one was an important match to win. It was a tough match and personally I played terrible and lost, although I also have to give credit to my opponent who played fabulously. Luckily my two partners played well and won the match for us. Tomorrow against Hungary it’s going to be a difficult match, which we have to win to clinch second place in the group and advance in the tournament”, Matilda Ekholm.

There was another win for Russia in Group D as Polina Mikhailova impressed against Poland, while the other fixture in the group saw France get the better of Belarus. The match between Spain and Ukraine ended up going in the latter team’s favour by a 0-3 scoreline.

Liebherr 2017 European Championships Matilda Ekholm Sofia Polcanova Nina Mittelham Li Fen

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Day 5 - Liebherr 2017 ITTF-European Team Championships