by Simon Daish
Ding Yaping helped Metz TT to a strong start, seeing off Maria Fazekas in the match opener (12-10, 11-13, 11-9, 11-6) before Adina Diaconu and Carole Grundisch added respective victories over Szandra Pergel (5-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-7) and Mercedes Nagyvaradi (11-6, 11-9, 11-6) to seal the points.
Champions League newcomers, and fellow French side, Etival Clairefontaine ASRTT also moves through to the next stage of the competition after a superb comeback effort against Spanish opponents UCAM Cartagena TM in Group B.
Taking the lead through Shao Jieni, who came out on top against Viktoria Lebedeva (11-6, 11-9, 11-9), but the hosts soon found themselves on the brink of defeat with Maria Xiao and Silvia Erdelyi De Souza beating Hana Matelova (11-2, 11-6, 11-5) and Maria Dolgikh (9-11, 11-8, 1-11, 12-10, 11-9) to turn the match on its head. However, back-to-back victories for Shao Jieni and Hana Matelova in their encounters with Maria Xiao (11-9, 12-10, 11-8) and Viktoria Lebedeva (14-12, 11-4, 11-5) saw the hosts emerge as 3-2 winners.
Level on points heading into the final Group C match but the other French club involved in action TT Saint Quentinois suffered a painful 3-2 defeat on home soil as Sporting Clube de Portugal reached the last eight on its debut season in the tournament.
Zhang Mo produced a wonderful outing for the hosts, claiming two wins to her name but victories for Daniela Monteiro Dodean and Zhenqi Barthel Apolonia over Polina Mikhailova (11-4, 12-10, 11-3) and Aurore Le Mansec (4-11, 9-11, 15-13, 11-5, 11-9) kept the match alive. Li Fen then chalked up a commanding win against Polina Mikhailova (11-2, 11-9, 11-4) to send Sporting through.
Already assured of a spot in the next round but that didn’t stop SKST Mart Hodonin-Stavoimpex from finishing its Group D campaign on a high note with two wins from Natalia Partyka and a third success from Marketa Sevcikova guiding the Czech team to a 3-1 home victory over LZ Linz Froschberg.
Dr.Casl, TTC Berlin Eastside, Linz AG Froschberg and KTS Enea Siarka Tarnobrzeg advance as group winners.