by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
In realistic terms, Russia now secures third place in the group behind China and Singapore.
Notably on the corresponding table China with Wang Manyu, Chen Meng and Ding Ning on duty beat Singapore who fielded Feng Tianwei, Lin Ye and Zhang Wanling by three matches to one.
The one win for Singapore came in the opening match of the engagement when Feng Tianwei accounted for Wang Manyu (4-11, 13-11, 14-12, 14-12); thus for the first time since Hong Kong’s Tie Yana beat Li Xiaoxia in 2012 in Dortmund, China surrendered and individual match in the Corbillon Cup.
Success for China with minimal drama; a fine performance by Feng Tianwei but the performance of the morning was by Russia’s Yana Noskova.
After having losing to Matilda Ekholm in the second match of the fixture (11-9, 0-11, 13-15, 11-6, 11-8), she recovered to beat Linda Bergström in the vital fifth and deciding contest (10-12, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6) to send her colleagues into ecstatic joy.
“I had played Linda many times before as a junior and always won but she has really improved, her defence is very solid. I was really afraid because two years ago in the match against Austria, where if I had won we would have gone up; I lost to Li Qiangbing and we went down. If I win we go up, if I lose we go down, it was in my mind all the time against Linda. After I lost the first game, I decided to play with more spin and to take some risks, she made some mistakes and things came good for me.” Yana Noskova
The win for Yana Noskova iced the cake, the efforts of Polina Mikailova and Mariia Tailakova baked the cake. In the opening match of the engagement, Polina Mikhaolva beat Linda Bergström (11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 13-11), before losing to Matilda Ekholm (11-6, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9). Meanwhile, in the third match of the fixture, Mariia Tailakova accounted for Jennifer Jonsson (11-5, 11-4, 8-11. 11-4).
“I’ve played Linda several times before, every time she plays better and better; when you play someone who is defender you must be patient and keep doing the same thing time and time again, not panic or take risks. Quite simply Matilda is a good player, she has good services, difficult to receive and if you make mistakes receiving service you are under pressure.” Polina Mikhailova
Defeat for Sweden but it was personal success for Matilda Ekholm; she has now played eight matches and has won all eight!
In the concluding group fixtures Sweden meets China, Russia confronts India, Sweden plays Belarus
Standings (after four matches): China 8pts, Singapore 7pts, Russia 6pts, Sweden 6pts, Belarus 5pts, India 4pts (one point is awarded for presence, one for a win).