by Simon Daish
Heading into the match both sides were aware that a win was required to progress through to the next stage of the competition.
The opening fixture pitted Georgina Pota against Matilda Ekholm of Sweden, and after five ends of intense action it was the Hungarian player who came out on top (11-9, 18-16, 10-12, 8-11, 12-10).
Sweden suffered another blow to its chances following Dora Madarasz’s come back from two games down to claim a deciding game triumph over Li Fen (7-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10), and the match was eventually brought to a close when Szandra Pergel prevailed against Linda Bergstrom (9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 11-9) to seal a 3-0 win for the Hungarian team.
“It wasn’t a simple battle for me against Matilda Ekholm because we play women’s doubles together. She is one of my friends so I know her tactics and her playing style well and it is always interesting to overcome a friend… Of course the team’s victory was the most important thing in order to be in the quarter-finals and we did it!”, Georgina Pota.
However, Hungary didn’t achieve a first position finish in the group, that honour went to Germany.
Despite an early defeat for Sabine Winter which she suffered against Mateja Jeger (7-11, 15-17, 11-5, 8-11), Germany went on to claim three consecutive match wins courtesy of Nina Mittelham, Wan Yuan and Sabine Winter to condemn Croatia to bottom spot in the group.
“At the beginning I was a little bit nervous, but everything ended up fine, although the third game was really close. I played quite well… For me, it is more fun to play in the team because you can rely on your teammates and they support you. Besides, you don’t only play to win for yourself, but you want to win for the team. It’s a good motivation”, Wan Yuan.
There was a thrilling duel between the Portuguese and Ukrainian teams in Group C, with all five matches being required to find a winner.
Yu Fu was the standout competitor in the tie contributing a brace of wins, with Margaryta Pesotska (5-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6) and Ganna Gaponova (11-3, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6) experiencing defeats to the Portuguese representative. The result was put beyond any doubt following Shao Jieni’s victory over Ganna Gaponova (6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7) as the 3-2 scoreline favoured Portugal.
The other Group C tie saw Spain put in a promising display against Austria, but the 3-2 victory proved nothing more than a consolation win for the Spanish team.
Slovenia has taken control of its group in the Women’s Challenge Division, after the team pulled off a successful comeback to beat England.
The advantage sat in England’s favour with the British side establishing a lead following the opening three matches, but Slovenia hit back with two consecutive wins from Alex Galic and Manca Fajmut to register a 3-2 victory.
Following a somewhat disappointing opening day experience, Serbia picked up its first positive result of the campaign with Belgium losing out 3-0 while the youthful Azerbaijan team of Deng Simeng, Zhou Chuyi and Maryam Imanova sits top of Group G.