by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Star of the show for Romania was Elizabeta Samara.
After Bernadette Szocs had given the reigning European champions the perfect start by beating Kim Song I (11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8) in the opening match of the fixture, Elizabeta Samara followed suit. She accounted for Cho Hyo Sim by the very narrowest of decisions (11-13, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 14-12), prior to bringing matters to a conclusion by overcoming Kim Song I (11-3, 10-12, 15-13, 13-11).
Places in the main draw reserved; in Group A, China, Singapore and Russia emerged the outfits to secure the respective top three places. In the concluding contests China beat Sweden by three matches to nil, by the same margin Singapore overcame Belarus. In the one remaining contest Russia recorded a three-one win in opposition to India.
Impressive from China, in Group B, it was an equally impressive performance from Japan; they overcame the United States by three matches to nil to maintain their unbeaten record and top the group. Similarly, by the same margin Austria overcame Egypt to reserve first place whilst Ukraine defeated Hungary to gain third spot.
Mainstay of the Ukraine victory was Ganna Gaponova; she beat Georgina Pota in the second match of the fixture (11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9), before in the fifth and vital deciding contest accounting for Dora Madarasz (11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5).
Meanwhile in Group D, Korea beat Brazil to maintain their unbeaten record and secure top spot. The win was as anticipated but there was a surprise; Luxembourg defeated Hong Kong by three matches to two.
Star of the show was 53 year old Ni Xia Lian. She beat Minnie Soo Wai Yam (11-5, 11-7, 11-6) and in the decisive fifth match of the engagement Ng Wing Nam (11-8, 10-12, 14-12, 15-13).
A fine effort but it was not to secure a top three finish for Luxembourg. Despite the defeat, Hong Kong finished in second position with Germany third.
In their concluding contest, Germany overcame Thailand by three matches to one.