20 Sep 2018

The winner in 2015 in Ekaterinburg and the only player from old continent ever to reach the final of the Women’s World Cup, when she achieved the feat in the Chinese city of Huangshi in 2012; Romania’s Elizabeta Samara was the biggest name to fall as play commenced in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships in Alicante, Spain on Thursday 20th September.

Furthermore, she was not the only champion to depart as the top half of the draw progressed; Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian, victorious two decades ago in 1998 in Eindhoven and in 2002 in Zagreb departed. Likewise, Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene, the winner in 2008 in Stuttgart, bid farewell as did Viktoria Pavlovich of Belarus, successful in both 2010 in Ostrava and two years later in Herning.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Elizabeta Samara, the no.3 seed, was beaten by Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska in five games (11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7); the defeat somewhat adding to a recent run of disappointments for the 29 year old Romanian on whom the gods of sport are not shining. On the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour in August she was beaten in the opening round in Bulgaria and in the Czech Republic. She lost to China’s Wen Jia on both occasions.

Defeat for Elizabeta Samara contrary to expectations, it was the same for Ni Xialian, the no.10 seed and Viktoria Pavlovich, the no.21 seed. Ni Xialian suffered at the hands of Serbia’s Izabela Lupulesku (11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 14-12), Viktoria Pavlovich was beaten by Stéphanie Loueillette of France (11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 16-14, 5-11, 11-8).

“When I started to play I just wanted to win a point against Ni and when it happened I was relieved. Then I saw I could play against her and I seized my opportunity. She is very experienced and clever, even now I do not believe that I did it.” Izabela Lupulesku

Disappointments for Ni Xialian and Viktoria Pavlovich, former glories not to be relived; it was the same for Ruta Paskauskiene but her defeat was as status advised; she suffered against Poland’s Natalia Partyka, the no.18 seed (11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9).

Farewell to notable names and they were not alone; the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova, the no.17 seed, experienced defeat when facing Irina Ciobanu, like Elizabeta Samara from Romania (11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10, 6-11, 11-4). Also, Switzerland’s Rachel Moret, the no.27 seed, was beaten by the Czech Republic’s Aneta Kucerova (11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8), Hungary’s Dora Madarasz, the no.30 seed, suffered against Croatia’s Mateja Jeger (12-10, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8). Meanwhile, Portugal’s Shao Jieni ended the hopes of Slovenia’s Alex Galic, the no.31 seed (12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7).

Earlier than expected exits but not for the top seed, Austria’s Sofia Polcanova; she opened her campaign by beating Luxembourg’s Danielle Konnsbruck (6-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7). Similarly, amongst the leading names in the top half of the draw, Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm, the no.6 seed, accounted for Lithuania’s Kornelija Riliskyte (11-3, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8), Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.8 seed, prevailed against Oceane Guisnel of France (11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 13-11, 11-2).

The second round of the Women’s Singles event will be played on Friday 21st September.

2018 Liebherr European Championships Elizabeta Samara Margaryta Pesotska

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