Reigning champion LIU Jia in semisPhoto: Rita TABORDA
ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in Gondomar
After three years break and giving birth to two babies, SHEN Yanfei of Spain returned to ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in Gondomar. She did it in great style; on her fourth appearances in Europe’s most prestige Event SHEN reached the semi final, for a first time in her career. In the quarterfinal SHEN overcame Sabine WINTER of Germany 0:4 (4-11, 9-11, 6-11, 5-11).
“It was very hard match. Sabine beat NI Xialian of Luxembourg yesterday in the Group stage and it was enough to make me worry. She is young and every time I see her, she is improving her game,” explained SHEN.
SHEN admitted she is very tired after opening day of the competition.
“Having three matches against the top player is not easy for me any more. After the babies came to the World , I do not practice very hard any more. Most of the time I am in China, and only good chance to have good training is when I am in Europe,” added SHEN.
The smile returned to the face of Elizabeta SAMARA of Romania after the victory over Tetyana BILENKO of Ukraine in the quarterfinal 4:1 (11-7, 11-8, 11-13, 11-4, 11-7).
“Yesterday, I was sure, that once again the tournament will ended bad for me. In previous occasions I was struggling to post single victory at Top 16. However, at the end I concluded the Group stage at the position no. one. That gave me new energy. And I needed it, because I was so tired last night that I could not sleep. I felt I am in control, against BILENKO. She was playing good, but I can be satisfied with my game finally,” stated SAMARA.
Reigning champion, LIU Jia of Austria beat her teammate Sofia POLCANOVA in five games duel 4:1 (11-4,10-12,11-6,13-11,11-7).
“It is was hard to play against teammate. Not only that we are practice together for the national tam, but also for the club, Champions league. She is very good player with great future,” stated LIU Jia.
In the semis LIU will meet HU Melek of Turkey, who played against Georgina POTA of Hungary 2:4 (16-14,9-11,9-11,8-11,11-9,9-11).
“Against POTA you have to be sure with your service and receive game and I struggled a little with receive today. In long rallies she has advantage. However, at the end I was a little bit lucky. I made few mistakes, high balls, but POTA also made errors and at the end I won,” said HU.