by Simon Daish
Sweden’s Linda Bergström, a resolute defender and a player to be reckoned with, was responsible for Szocs’ unexpected exit, and quite frankly the no.22 seed never looked troubled. A contest decided in five games, Bergström read her opponent perfectly and couldn’t have been more delighted with her efforts (11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 13-11).
“This was my second win against her and I’m very happy with how I played. I’m happy that I managed to be aggressive both with my backhand side for the defence and my forehand side with my attack. She is a tricky player because she has many different styles, she can be aggressive or she can be very calm and play without any spin. I’m very happy I managed to read her game well today and adjust my game accordingly.” Linda Bergström
Not to be for the Romanian no.4 seed who emerged the highest-seeded player to fall at the hurdle, but that unwanted status very nearly belonged to top seed Sofia Polcanova. The Austrian, who is looking to improve upon her bronze medal finish achieved three years back in Alicante, was extended the full seven-game distance by Romania’s Adina Diaconu with the 21-year-old only just missing out on the shock of the round (11-9, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-4).
“I managed to win 4-3, it was a very close match and I was prepared for it to be tough because we’ve played each other several times. She has always shown a good performance against me and today I’m really happy that I won. For me this European Championships is something really special because I’ve been through injury the last year and I’m very grateful just to be here.” Sofia Polcanova
The player who finished one step above Polcanova in Alicante, Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska was forced to dig deep with the no.7 seed holding off Serbian qualifier Sabina Surjan (11-6, 11-13, 13-15, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8). Pesotska’s fellow compatriot Solomiya Brateyko also experienced a seven-game nail-biter but, unlike her senior colleague, she suffered defeat with Portuguese no.14 seed moving through in her stead (11-7, 12-14, 9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5, 11-7).
Germany enjoyed a strong session with Petrissa Solja, Han Ying, Shan Xiaona and Sabine Winter all progressing. Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and Luxembourg’s Ni Xia Lian also prevailed, while Dutch no.5 Britt Eerland withdrew from her meeting with Daniela Monteiro Dodean.
For more information regarding the Liebherr 2020 ITTF European Championships visit the official tournament website at https://www.ettu.org/en/events/ittf-european-individual-championships-/general-information/