// Liu Jia departs, new champion to be crowned - International Table Tennis Federation


21 Sep 2018

Success against the odds, an impressive performance, Poland’s Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc emerged the cause of one of two upsets of note in the second round of the Women’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships on Friday 21st September.

However, her win carried the greater significance. It meant that whatever happens in the ensuing rounds in Alicante, a new European champion will be crowd.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc, the no.29 seed, beat Austria’s Liu Jia, the no.11 seed (8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9), the winner in Aarhus in 2005 and, in Alicante, the only previous Women’s Singles champion to have progressed to the second round.

Defeat for one prominent name and there was defeat for another; Portugal’s Fu Yu, the no.7 seed and runner up two years ago in Budapest, suffered at the hands of Romania’s Daniela Monteiro-Dodean (12-10, 4-11, 4-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-9).

“The last time we met, I beat her but it was a very difficult match at the 2017 European Championships in Luxembourg. It was two games each and 9-6 for her. It did not get any easier this time. On top of all, we were both struggling because of the umpires’ strange decisions. They were taking points from both of us. At some point in the game, I said: “please let us play”. Fu has a very strong service, quality forehand top spin. She gave me hard time.” Daniela Monteiro Dodean

A hard fought six games win for Daniela Monteiro Dodean, for Britt Eerland of the Netherlands and the Czech Republic’s Aneta Kucerova, they needed the full seven games to succeed, as did the highly rated duo of Bernadette Szocs and Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm.

Britt Eerland, the no.12 seed, eventually overcame Poland’s Natalia Partyka, the no.18 seed (8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9), Aneta Kucerova defeated fellow qualifier, Serbia’s Izabela Lupulesku, in a contest that was just as close (11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 8-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9).

Meanwhile, for Bernadette Szocs, the no.4 seed and Matilda Ekholm, the no.6 seed, French opposition almost caused their downfall; Bernadette Scocs was severely tested by Laura Gasnier (11-8, 8-11, 15-13, 7-11, 11-2, 12-14, 11-3), as was Matilda Ekholm when facing Stéphanie Loeuillette (11-9, 10-12, 10-12, 10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6).

Progress for Aneta Kucerova; she emerged as one of two qualifiers to progress to round three; the other being Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska. She accounted for Croatia’s Mateja Jeger in four straight games (11-9, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7).

Impressive from Margaryta Pesotska in the second round of the Women’s Singles event; it was the same from the leading two names. Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the top seed, beat Romanian qualifier, Irina Ciobanu (11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7); Li Jie of the Netherlands, the no.2 seed, proved too reliable in defence for Spain11-5, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7)..

Worthy wins for Sofia Polcanova and Li Jie; also amongst the leading names, there were creditable wins for Poland’s Li Qian, the no.5 seed and Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.8 seed. Li Qian accounted for Austrian qualifier, Amelie Solja (11-2, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4); Georgina Pota prevailed against Maria Xiao and thus ended the hopes of the host nation.

The third round and quarter-finals of the Women’s Singles event will be played on Saturday 22nd September.

2018 Liebherr European Championships Liu Jia Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc

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