by Simon Daish
Li Qian got the ball rolling for the Polish visitors, producing a fine display against Soo Wai Yam Minnie in an exciting opener (12-14, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3). However, Linz drew level through Linda Bergström, who earned an impressive straight games victory over Han Ying (11-9, 11-7, 11-6).
Then came arguably the most important meeting of the evening as Elizabeta Samara edged out Sofia Polcanova in a full distance encounter (6-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6) to restore Tarnobrzeg’s lead. Han Ying then made up for her earlier defeat with a strong outing against Soo Wai Yam Minnie (11-7, 11-5, 11-1) to hand the away team a 3-1 advantage.
TTC Berlin Eastside picked up a valuable lead at home to Dr.Casl in the other semi-final encounter, beating the defending champions in a 3-2 thriller.
Setting a quick pace right from the start of the match Berlin gained an early advantage through Shan Xiaona, who needed just three games to see off Li Jie (11-3, 11-3, 11-8) before Matilda Ekholm extended the home side’s lead with a convincing display against Lin Gaoyang (11-5, 11-8, 13-11).
Fu Yu and Lin Gaoyang did put the visitors on the scoreboard with back-to-back victories over Nina Mittelham (11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7) and Shan Xiaona (8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9) but in the deciding fixture Matilda Ekholm proved too strong for Li Jie (11-9, 15-13, 5-11, 11-9), leading Berlin to a 1st leg lead.