by Simon Daish
The match got off to somewhat of a shock start with Li Jie claiming a fantastic four games win over penhold specialist Shan Xiaona (13-11, 8-11, 13-15, 8-11) to put the Netherlands ahead.
Germany fans were left stunned with the opening result but the team wasn’t behind for long as Han Ying pulled off a three games to nil win in the second match against Britt Eerland (11-2, 11-3, 11-5) to level the scoreboard at 1-1.
Then it was the battle of the young stars as Kim Vermaas went head-to-head with Germany’s Nina Mittelham in the third fixture of the tie.
The odds were very much against the Dutch player who entered the match ranked 128 positions below Nina Mittelham in the world rankings table, but Kim Vermaas’ fighting spirit proved enough to beat the German in a thrilling seven games duel (7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 9-11) giving the Netherlands the advantage.
Defending champions Germany had no more room for error, but with the European No.1 Han Ying taking to the table in the next fixture there was still an air of confidence from the top seeded team.
Li Jie provided the opposition in the fourth encounter and the Dutch competitor put in a well rounded performance at the start of the match to race into a two games to nil lead. But, Han Ying made the perfect response emerging victorious across the following three games to force a deciding fixture (11-13, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6).
“When I started my match, I thought that I just have to play like I trained. Of course, you absolutely have to be very patient if there are exchanges which can take up to three minutes. But I don’t think that my match alone was the turning point”, Han Ying.
The win was secured for the German team after Shan Xiaona made amends for her early defeat by clinching a 3-1 triumph over Britt Eerland (11-6, 11-5, 3-11, 11-9) to put the top seeds through to the final.
“We didn’t expect to come so close, but when we saw that it was possible, we were really hoping to win. But we also thought “Let’s enjoy”. We’re a young team and we managed to get a medal, so we’ll just hope and see what will come in the future”, Britt Eerland.