HU Melek and SHEN Yanfei unbeatenPhoto: Rita TABORDA, courtesy PTTA
ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in Gondomar
At the end of the day one, at the ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in Gondomar, two players concluded the Group stage unbeaten, whilst we had real drama in other two groups. SHEN Yanfei and HU Melek had a perfect record today.
In the last match in the Group, top seeded Elizabeta SAMARA overcame host nation representative Lila OLIVEIRA in four games 3:1 (11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-9). She finished the match first, but had to spend 15 minutes or more, waiting for the end of the great battle between Sofia POLCANOVA of Austria and Polina MIKHAILOVA of Austria. The beginning of that match went in favor of Romanian player. Austria’s Sofia had two games to null on her record. With two previous wins Sofia was heading to the quarters, taking SAMARA with her. However, Polina recovered to level and to win the match so the outcome of the Group has to be decided by calculating the points ratio. All three players went through few more agonizing minutes before the calculation was over. SAMARA ended at the top of the group followed by POLCANOVA. The win did not save MIKHAILOVA.
“What a conclusion of the horrible day. I started bad; I did not feel good. After the opening match I did not even expect I would pass the group. It looked like I am heading another great disappointed for me at the Top 16,” said SAMARA.
Fighter, as she truly is did not give up. She stayed determined and at the end she was reworded.
“I just want to go to sleep now. Tomorrow is the new day and I hope it will start differently. This was nightmare for me,” said Elizabeta.
SAMARA recorded two wins with six points in plus on her account (99:93), POLCANOVA is second with +2 (96:94) whilst MIKHAILOVA has negative saldo (88:96).
There was no drama in the Group 2. HU Melek of Turkey recorded all three victories to book the top spot and the place in the quarterfinal. She beat NI Xialian of Luxembourg, Sabine WINTER of Germany and Viktoria PAVLOVICH of Belarus. Sabine progressed to the quarters from the second spot.
“In the morning I had the difficult match against NI Xiaolian. We played so many times against each other before and the fact that it was the first match in the morning did not help. I managed to control the game; to be in the lead from the beginning, but she recovered. She stretched me to full distance,” said HU.
Another thriller awaited HU in the second round.
“Against WINTER , it was the hardest match today. We went full five games. I lost my focus in the opening stage, but after 0:2 I told myself, “lets play like it is 0:0”. I just needed time to find the game for her and I did not panicked,” added HU.” Against Viktoria I did not face great difficulties.”
In Group 3 LIU Jia of Austria was stretched to full distance in the last match of the day against Bernadette SZOCS of Romania, but she kept her record clean. With three victories in first stage of the Event, reigning champion progressed to the quarters. Despite two defeats Tetyana BILENKO followed her. Kristin SILBEREISEN of Germany beat Ukraine’s player in the last round but 3:2 was not enough to buy her pass to the next stage.
SHEN Yanfei of Spain, showed no mercy in Group 4. She beat Georgina POTA of Hungary, who booked second tickets to the quarters. On her list were also WU Jiaduo of Germany and Yana NOSKOVA of Russia.
“It was hard and long day for me. Playing three matches in the same day against top level players is not easy. I just need a good rest,” said SHEN.
At 10 AM tomorow SAMARA will meet BILENKO and WINTER will play against SHEN. One hour latter, LIU will play against POLCANOVa and POTA will meet HU.