19 Sep 2018

Former champions, Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene, the winner in 2008 in St Petersburg and Sweden’s Li Fen, successful in Schwechat five years later, both concluded their initial phase matches in the qualification stage of the Women’s Singles event in first places in their respective groups.

However, as the concluding matches were enacted on Wednesday 19th September, there were differing fortunes.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Li Fen duly accounted for the Czech Republic’s Karin Adamkova to retain her unbeaten record (11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7); conversely, Ruta Paskausiene was beaten by Russia’s 17 year old Mariia Tailakova, the highest ranked player in the group. The Lithuanian suffered in six games (11-7, 7-11, 15-13, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9).

However, the previous day Mariia Tailakova had experienced a somewhat unexpected defeat when facing Turkey’s Sibel Altinkaya, she had lost in seven games (8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10); the player who in her opening contest Ruta Paskauskiene had overcome in five games (5-11, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12, 11-7).

Thus games ratio determined the outcome; Ruta Paskauskiene finished in first place (6:5) ahead of Mariia Tailakova (7:6) and Sibel Altinkaya (5:7).

A close call for Ruta Paskauskiene; it was very much the same for Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatykh, as it was for Spain’s Zhang Xuan.

Valeria Shcherbatykh, who the previous day had beaten Pauline Chasselin of France, the highest ranked player in the group, in four straight games (11-6, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7), lost to Lithuania’s Kornelija Riliskyte in seven games in her concluding contest (10-12, 11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8). In the opening match in the group Pauline Chasselin had beaten Kornelija Riliskyte in seven games (7-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8).

Games ratio the determining factor; Valeria Shcherbatykh concluded matters in first position (7:4), ahead of Kornelija Riliskyte (7:7) and Pauline Chasselin(4:7).

First place for Valeria Shcherbatykh somewhat contrary to expectations; for Zhang Xuan it was as anticipated but in her final match in the group phase, she lost to Aikaterini Toliou of Greece in six games (11-2, 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 11-5). On the opening day of play, Marharyta Baltushite of Belarus had beaten Aikaterini Toliou in six games (11-5, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6) but had lost to Zhang Xuan in four straight games (11-7, 13-11, 12-10, 11-5). Games ratio decide first position for Zhang Xuan (6:4), she was pursued by Aikaterini Toliou (6:6) and Maharyta Baltushite (4:6).

Matters as anticipated for Zhang Xuan but as play came to a conclusion in the Women’s Singles tournament, in addition to Valeria Shcherbatykh, there were two more unexpected top spots.

Portugal’s Shao Jieni beat Romania’s Adina Diaconu (11-13, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10) to secure first place, a feat also achieved by Serbia’s Izabela Lupulesku. She defeated Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova (10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 7-11,11-8). Both Shao Jieni and Izabela Lupulesku remained unbeaten, whilst for Adina Diaconu and Tatiana Kukulkova, the highest rated players in the respective groups it was third place and the end of the road.

Earlier, Adina Diaconu had lost the Serbia’s Sabina Surjan (11-7, 12-10, 14-12, 11-4, 11-4); Tatiana Kukulkova had been beaten by Italy’s Jamila Laurenti (11-8, 12-10, 3-11, 11-6, 11-8). Sabina Surjan and Jamila Laurenti both finished in second places.

2018 Liebherr European Championships Ruta Paskauskiene Li Fen

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