by Simon Daish
Setting the early pace in Group C, Linz AG Froschberg ran out as comfortable 3-0 winners at home to tournament newcomers Sporting Clube de Portugal.
Making a statement on intent early on in the match, Linz struck first with Sofia Polcanova’s straight games victory over Daniela Monteiro Dodean (11-8, 11-2, 11-8) before back-to-back successes for Soo Wai Yam Minnie and Linda Bergström against Li Fen (6-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-8) and Zhenqi Barthel Apolonia (11-4, 13-11, 11-5) sealed the win for the hosts.
However, the news wasn’t quite so positive for the other team from Linz as Polish champions KTS Enea Siarka Tarnobrzeg saw off LZ Linz Froschberg in Group D: Han Ying handed Tarnobrzeg the perfect start with a strong display against Marharyta Baltushite (11-8, 12-10, 11-6) with further victories from Li Qian and Han Ying over Tin-Tin Ho (11-6, 11-9, 11-3) and Wu Yue (11-6, 10-12, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10) earning two group points for the home team.
Fans of TTC Berlin Eastside were treated to a fine home display against Spanish visitors UCAM Cartagena TM. New signing Matilda Ekholm put Berlin in front, defeating Viktoria Lebedeva across four games (11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 13-11) with Georgina Pota and Nina Mittelham prevailing against Maria Xiao (7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 7-11, 11-8) and Silvia Erdelyi De Souza (11-6, 11-8, 11-8) to finish the job.
The other side to earn an opening round victory was defending champion Dr. Časl with the line-up of Fu Yu, Li Jie and Ni Xialian proving too strong for Maria Fazekas (11-8, 11-4, 11-9), Szandra Pergel (9-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-8) and Mercedes Nagyvaradi (11-4, 10-12, 11-2, 11-2) as the Croatian club beat Hungarian opponents SH-ITB Budaörsi 2i Sport Club by a 3-0 score-line.