02 May 2018

DPR Korea followed by Austria booked their places in the quarter-finals of the Women’s event at the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships in Halmstad, Sweden following first round success on the late afternoon and early evening of Wednesday 2nd May.

However, those places were booked in rather different fashions.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Most impressively, DPR Korea, the no.19 seeds, beat Russia, the no.8 seeds; a three-nil win was the order of proceedings with each match being determined in straight games.

Kim Song I beat Yana Noskova (11-9, 11-3, 11-5), before Kim Nam Hae accounted for Polina Mikhailova (11-3, 11-3, 11-4) and Cha Hyo Sim concluded matters by overcoming Mariia Tailakova (11-7, 11-3, 11-4).

Conversely, Austria, the no.7 seeds, needed the full five matches to overcome Germany, the no.11 seeds. Backbone of the Austrian success was Sofia Polcanova. In the opening match of the fixture she withstood a brave recovery from Sabine Winter to emerge successful (11-7, 11-6, 3-11, 7-11, 11-4), before in the fourth contest appearing down and out in the third game against Petrissa Solja. Quite unexpectedly, she mounted a most unexpected recovery to win in five games (5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6).

“Against Sabine I started well, I was leading two-nil and became stressed. She played much better in the third and fourth games. At two-two I said to myself I must win for the team, give the team a good start. Playing Petrissa I really don’t know what happened, she is left handed like me; I lost the first two games and in the third I was down 1-5. Winning the third game gave me confidence, I played more to her forehand in the fourth and fifth games, made her move more and just fought to the end.” Sofia Polcanova

Two wins from Sofia Polcanova set the scene for Liu Jia, who in the second match of the contest had lost to Petrissa Solja (11-5, 11-8, 11-3), to complete the victory. She succeeded but, just like Sofia Polcanova, gave her supporters nervous moments; she won the first two games against Sabine Winter, before losing the next two and then controlled matters in the fifth (11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 11-5).

“It was a bit like Sofia when she played Sabine, I became stressed, my head was not clear; I had to win for the team. At the end of the fourth game I just tried to clear my head; I made a good start in the fifth and never looked back.” Liu Jia

The one further win for Germany was recorded by Nina Mittelham; in the third match of the fixture she beat Amelie Solja, in yet another five games duel (11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6). Notably the battle of the sisters never took place; Petrissa avoided Amelie.

At the quarter-final stage Austria faces China, DPR Korea confronts Korea Republic.

2018 World Team Championships Sofia Polcanova Liu Jia

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Day 8 - Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships

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