by Ian Marshall, Editor
Now, when Luxembourg is the subject of discussion, the name that is to the forefront time and again is that of her doubles partner, Ni Xia Lian.
It is quite understandable. At 1983 World Championships in Tokyo Ni Xia Lian was a member of the successful gold medal winning team and later partnered Guo Yuehua to Mixed Doubles success; later when moving to Luxembourg, in 1998 in Eindhoven and in 2002 in Zagreb, she was crowned European champion.
In her opening round in Stockholm, with her deft left handed pen-hold grip skills as potent as ever, she mesmerized the host nation’s Caroline Tanska (11-8, 11-2, 11-2, 11-4). Minimal movement, refuse to move a centimetre back from the table, outwit your opponent and smile in the process.
A most efficient way to play, for Sarah de Nutte, almost 30 years the junior of her illustrious partner, the performance of the 26 year old was very different. It was her athletic top spin play that caught the eye; furthermore, step by step her level is improving. No doubt she is benefitting from the wise words of Peter Teglas, the former Hungarian National Women’s Team, now in charge in Luxembourg who guided such players as Georgina Pota to success after success.
“I like he style, I like the long points, I like the rallies; in the open game I feel confident. I’ve been working with Peter our new coach to improve my placement of the ball, to try better to anticipate the movement of my opponent. Also, I think by blocking play, the passive game has improved; in the past if my top spin play was not good and I wasn’t playing well I had no other answers. Now I have a better chance of winning when I’m not playing that well. Against Oceane, my short play was good, as well as my serve and receive.” Sarah de Nutte.
Impressive from Sarah de Nutte; Ni Xialian stand aside!