29 Sep 2018

First place in the group secured but for Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, on Friday 28th September, at the Uncle Pop 2018 ITTF Women's World Cup in Chengdu, China, it was life on the proverbial knife-edge.

On another day it could have been the end of the road, packing her bags and heading for the local airport in dismay. Overall, she saved four match points.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The no.10 seed, in her opening contest against Egypt’s Dina Meshref, the no.17 seed, in the sixth game she had saved two match points before emerging successful (11-9, 8-11, 3-11, 9-11, 11-4, 13-11, 11-7).

In her very next contest, facing Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu, the no.13 seed, she completed very much the same escape act. She won the first game, lost the next three; before in the sixth levelling matters, after having game point on two occasions and electing for “Time Out” when leading 12-11. The next point secured a dramatic seventh game followed, twice she saved match point, before emerging victorious (11-7, 6-11, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 13-11, 13-11).

A place in the main draw secured; on the adjacent table it was the same for Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm who very much upset the odds. The no.14 seed, she beat Li Jie of the Netherlands, the no.9 seed (7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10) the leading name in the first stage of proceedings and a player against whom the Swede had lost on all four occasions when they had met on the international stage. First and second placed players in each group advance to the main draw; it was journey’s end for Li Jie.

First place in the group assured for Elizabeta Samara; soon after, Bernadette Szocs emulated her colleague. The no.12 seed, having earlier in the day accounted for Wu Yue of the United States in five games (11-6, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9), in one game more she completed her initial itinerary of matches by overcoming Austria’s Liu Jia, the no.16 seed (11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6).

Places secured in the main draw; in the one remaining contest in the second series of matches, Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the 15 seed, gave herself every chance of progress. In her opening contest she accounted for Canada’s Zhang Mo, the no.11 seed (11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 16-14, 12-10), the winner earlier in the day in opposition to Australia’s Jian Fang Lay, the no.20 seed (6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6).

The concluding series of matches will be played later in the day.

Uncle Pop 2018 ITTF Women’s World Cup: Statistic provided by Beijing Sport University

World Cup 2018 Uncle Pop Women's World Cup Elizabeta Samara

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