Tournaments

18 Sep 2018

Former champions, two of the most experienced players on duty in Alicante, Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene and Sweden’s Li Fen both made successful starts to their campaigns in the Women’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships in the Spanish east coast resort of Alicante on Tuesday 18th September.

Both now of an age when eligible to compete in veteran events,; could this tournament be their swansong? It appears that is the scenario for the Lithuanian?

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The winner in 2008 in St Petersburg, in addition the owner of four European Championship Mixed Doubles titles in partnership with Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic and twice Women’s Doubles champion in harness with Russia’s Oksana Fadeeva; Ruta Paskauskiene made an impressive start.

She accounted for Turkey’s Sibel Altinkaya in five games (5-11, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12, 11-7) in her opening contest.

It was a most competent performance; one that suggests they are some years left for the 41 year old. Ruta Paskauskiene was of a different opinion.

“I promised myself a few times I will stop playing; now I think it is the time to really do it. My body does not feel right in the venue any more, I feel the pressure and I have doubts, I will do just this one and that is it.” Ruta Paskauskiene

A relatively comfortable opening win for Ruta Paskauskiene, who continued her form later in the day to beat Azerbaijan’s Bilura Eminova (13-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8); it was the same from Li Fen, the winner in Schwechat in 2013. She beat Slovenia’s Katarzyna Strazar in four straight games (13-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6), before accounting foe Luxembourg’s Sarah Meyer by a similar margin (11-3, 11-6, 11-2, 11-3).

“It has been little bit hard this morning, but now I feel much better. I adjusted to the venue and I am satisfied with my play. ” Li Fen

Success for both Li Fen and Ruta Paskauskiene in an event where there is a small margin for error.

Overall, there are 19 groups in the initial stage of the Women’s Singles event but only first position guarantees progress to the main draw. The remaining places are filled by quite an innovative system.
A total of seven “Lucky Losers” are drawn by lot from those players finishing in second positions in each group, the remaining second placed players compete in a preliminary round to decide who joins the 32 seeds in the main draw.

2018 Liebherr European Championships Li Fen Ruta Paskauskiene
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Day 1 - Liebherr 2018 ITTF Men´s World Cup