by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The success recorded by Tin-Tin Ho was pivotal to England’s three-one win against Canada; she beat Alicia Cote in five games (11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5), after Kelly Sibley had experienced defeat at the hands of the ice cool Zhang Mo (5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9).
“I tried not to think too much about the team score but think more it was a match. It’s hard to play Alicia, we play at the same club in Linz, we know each other well, it’s always close when we play. I felt good mentally, my head was clear and if from the backhand I played with a lot of spin, not too fast, I felt I could win.” Tin-Tin Ho
Matters level, in a full distance five games duel, Kelly Sibley and Maria Tspatsinos combined to beat Alicia Cote and Justina Yeung (11-6, 11-4, 7-11, 5-11, 11-4).
It was a crucial success but the pressure was firmly on the shoulders of Tin-Tin Ho as she faced Justina Yeung; the fifth match of the contest was scheduled for Maria Tsaptsinos versus Zhang Mo. No disrespect to Maria Tspatsinos, who when sitting on the bench leaps to her feet to applaud every English success, the true team player, but she was not the favourite to beat Zhang Mo.
For England, realistically Tin-Tin Ho had to win; she did, she succeeded in four games (11-4, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8), notably in the third game winning the first seven points).
“I must admit it was in my mind that Maria would have to play Zhang Mo; I did feel the pressure. In the third game I was not thinking of the score; like me she uses short pimpled rubber on the forehand, I tried to move her out of position and as in the first match top spin with my backhand; that enabled me to attack strongly from the forehand” Tin-Tin Ho
The wins recorded by Tin-Tin Ho proved the backbone of English success; the success of Madhurika Patkar set India on the road to a three-nil win against Malaysia.
She beat Karen Lyne, a left hander with supple wrists (7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3), after Manika Batra had given India the lead by accounting for Ho Ying (11-9, 11-7, 11-7).
“It was difficult, we have no left handers in India, she created wide angles, especially from her backhand wide to my forehand. I lost the first game and I was down 5-8 in the second. I focused on keeping the ball on the table; I felt I could win the rallies. I started to move better as the match progressed.” Madhurika Patkar
India two matches to nil ahead, Madhurika Patkar returned to the fray, she partnered Mouma Das to success against Tee Ai Xin and Ho Ying (11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7).
India now meets England in the semi-finals; the penultimate round contests will be played on Sunday 8th April commencing with Singapore versus Australia at 9.00am.