by Simon Daish
Romania missed out on reaching the top step of the podium at the tournament two years ago, but has another opportunity to achieve that feat after coming through its match against Russia in the penultimate round of the competition.
The closest fixture of the tie came right at the start as Elizabeta Samara required a comeback effort to see off Yana Noskova.
Following the conclusion of the opening three games it was Yana Noskova who held the advantage but a persistent Elizabeta Samara refused to give in, registering two game wins in a row to rescue an opening victory (11-9, 6-11, 1-11, 11-8, 11-7).
Daniela Monteiro Dodean enjoyed a huge confidence boost in the previous round picking up a terrific win against Portugal’s Yu Fu and the Romanian player looked on top form again in her match against Polina Mikhailova on day four, defeating the Russian competitor (11-6, 11-7, 11-9) to increase Romania’s lead in the tie.
“Today was not our day because we played less well than expected and also anticipated a better result than 3-0. We haven’t played the Romanian team for a number of years and we have never beaten them but we are aware that a bronze medal is the lowest objective we wanted to achieve here as the Russian national team”, Polina Mikhailova.
Russia needed to respond quickly and with the team trailing by a 2-0 deficit the hopes of the nation rested on the shoulders of Olga Vorobeva, who required a win against Bernadette Szocs to keep the match alive.
Very little separated the Russian and the Romanian representatives across the opening two games of the third encounter, but Bernadette Szocs began to find her stride and with the following games going in her favour the victory was sealed (15-17, 13-11, 11-7, 11-5).
“It is good for the team spirit and self confidence that we all won a match each. I am so happy that I was able to contribute”, Bernadette Szocs.
While the Women’s Championship Division is yet to be decided, Saturday’s action did see the Women’s Challenge Division draw to a close as Switzerland and Slovenia battled it out for 17th position overall.
Despite a strong start for the Swiss team through Rachel Moret, who saw off Manca Fajmut in four ends (7-11, 11-7, 9-11, 13-15), Slovenia was the side which eventually emerged victorious.
Alex Galic’s two wins against Rahel Aschwanden (11-4, 11-9, 11-5) and Rachel Moret (8-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-7) alongside Katarina Strazar’s straight games triumph over Celine Reust (13-11, 11-7, 11-9) led to a 3-1 result in the Slovenian team’s favour as Switzerland was forced to settle for an 18th position finish.
The Women’s Standard Division also featured a thrilling conclusion on Saturday as Norway edged to a 3-2 win against Estonia to seal top spot in the group.