04 Jul 2020

Winner of the cadet girls’ event at the 2017 Europe Youth Top 10 tournament in the English city of Worcester, Sophia Klee was the star of the show on the first day of play, Saturday 4th July, at the 2020 Düsseldorf Women’s Masters.

Against the odds, not seeded, the now 17 year old booked her place in the semi-finals.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In the opening round she beat Yuki Tsutsui, the no.8 seed, in a full distance five games duel (8-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7), before in the contest that brought the day to a close, causing the biggest upset since lockdown brought the world to a standstill in mid-March.

She beat Nina Mittelham, the no.2 seed (11-8, 8-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-5); the third game being crucial, she led 10-7 before by the very narrowest of decisions, gaining the verdict.

“I am a little speechless right now, because I never expected this; I tried to take my chances and it worked. I’m happy about the victory. At this early stage of the season, Nina is far from being at the level at which she can play.” Sophia Klee

Nina Mittelham was in a philosophical mood following her defeat (Photo: Jörg Fuhrmann)


Nevertheless, whatever the stage of season or year, it was a quite remarkable performance by Sophia Klee. Presently on the women’s world rankings, she is named at no. 481, Yuki Tsutsui is at no.369, Nina Mittelham at no.39.

“I think Sophia played well and deserved to win. I haven’t been able to train fully lately. Therefore the result is okay.” Nina Mittelham

Top seed books penultimate round place

Problems for the second seed, there were no such trials and tribulations for Han Ying, the top seed, who like Nina Mittelham, started her journey in the quarter-final round. She proved too secure in defence for Chantal Mantz, the no.7 seed (11-7, 11-4, 11-7) who had started the day with an opening round win in opposition to Anastasia Bondareva (11-6, 11-6, 11-1).

“I felt good; of course the young players have a lot of respect, you could see that. It’s good to play a match to slowly get back into the competition rhythm.” Han Ying

Han Ying made a most imposing start (Photo: Jörg Fuhrmann)


Unusual atmosphere

Success for Han Ying, for Shan Xiaona, the no.3 seed and Barbora Balazova, the no.4 seed, quarter-final places were booked without alarm. In the opening round, Shan Xiaona overcame Jele Stortz (11-5, 11-5, 11-3), Barbora Balazova accounted for Annett Kaufmann (11-8, 11-6, 11-5).

“It was a completely new competition atmosphere, everything was somehow unusual. I think that I can improve my performance in the tournament.” Shan Xiaona

Shan Xiaona found the environment very different (Photo: Jörg Fuhrmann)


The tournament will be played to a conclusion on Sunday 5th July

Live Broadcast



Saturday 4th July : Round One
10.00 Sarah de Nutte (5) bt Leonie Berger 11-6, 11-6, 11-1
10.30 Wan Yuan (6) bt Naomi Panjkovic 11-4, 11-2, 12-10
11.00 Barbora Balazova (4) bt Annett Kaufmann 11-8, 11-6, 11-5
11.30 Chantal Mantz (7) bt Anastasia Bondareva 11-6, 11-6, 11-1
12.00 Sophia Klee bt Yuki Tsutsui (8) 8-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7
12.30 Shan Xiaona (3) bt Jele Stortz 11-5, 11-5, 11-3

Saturday 4th July: Quarter-Finals
13.00 Han Ying (1) bt Chantal Mantz (7) 11-7, 11-4, 11-7
13.35 Sophia Klee bt Nina Mittelham (2) 11-8, 8-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-5

Sunday 5th July: Quarter-Finals
10.00 Shan Xiaona (3) v Sarah de Nutte (5)
10.35 Barbora Balazova (4) v Wan Yuan (6)

Sunday 5th July: Semi-Finals & Final
11.35 Han Ying v Shan Xiaona or Sarah de Nutte
12.10 Sophia Klee v Barbora Balazova or Wan Yuan
13.45 Final

Numbers in brackets indicate seeding; times are the earliest the match will be played

Sophia Klee