04 Feb 2018

Winner one year ago in Antibes, on Sunday 4th February, Li Jie of the Netherlands took another step forward in her quest to retain the title.

At the China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup in Montreux, the top seed, she beat Elizabeta Samara,the no.3 seed (13-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 13-11), on what was a day of mixed fortunes for Romania.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Earlier, Bernadette Szocs had caused somewhat of an upset, the no.8 seed, she accounted for Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm, the no.5 seed, in four straight games (11-7, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9).

Success, the wins mean that both players now qualify for the Women’s World Cup to be held later in the year; Elizabeta Samara must now play Matilda Ekholm for the third available place for Europe.

Both wins were somewhat reversals of defeats in major competitions, last year at the Liebherr 2017 European Team Champions, Li Jie had lost to Elizabeta Samara; notably two years earlier in the Women’s Singles final at the Liebherr 2015 European Championships, she had also experienced defeat.

“I have lost against Samara three or four times before, so I knew it was going to be very hard. I did not use the passive approach, I had to attack her. I could not let Samara attack me first, because she is so good in that.” Li Jie

A win somewhat contrary to previous results, it was more pronounced for Bernadette Szocs. In recent times, she had lost to Matilda Ekholm at the 2012 World Olympic Qualification Tournament, the following year at the European Team Championships, in 2015 at the European Games and in 2016 at the European Olympic Games qualifier

“I told everyone yesterday I am not going to stop with semi-final. I studied Matilda’s game. I had a positive attitude.” Bernadette Szocs

The final will be played later in the day.

2018 Europe Top 16 Bernadette Szocs Matilda Ekholm Li Jie Elizabeta Sanara

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Day 2 - China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup