SHEN Yanfei crowned champion in PortugalPhoto: Rita TABORDA
2016 ITTF Europe TOP 16 in Gondomar
Just 20 minutes before the Chinese people officially welcomed the New Year, SHAN Yanfei received the great gift in Europe. Player who was born in China, but now spread the glory for Spain, clinched her first trophy at the 2016 ITTF Europe TOP 16 in Gondomar, Portugal. She beat HU Melek of Turkey, her doubles parner, on her way to the highest place at the medal rostrum.
The clash between the only two players undefeated throughout the Women’s Singles Event in past three days, started with the dominance of HU Melek. Turkish player had a better start, but her advantage melted very fast. On their return to the table in the second game it was SHEN who was in control of the match. As the duel progressed errors flowed, HU’s frustration was evident. On the other side SHEN remain calm.
“It was difficult to play against HU, especially since she beat me last time. We are also doubles partners and know each other well,” explained SHEN.
SHEN had a two years break due the maternity reason, now it seams she came back in full power.
“I had shaky start of the tournament. In all three matches in the group I was forced to go full distance. However it proved good at the end. I regain my confidence and already yesterday I was very happy with my performance.”
In two previous occasions when they have meet HU Melek succeeded; she beat SHEN in the semi final of the Mediterranean Games in 2013 and she emerged victoriously in the Round of 16 at the World Championships in Paris the same year.
In the match for the third position LIU Jia of Austria beat Elizabeta SAMARA of Romania 1:4 (8-11,11-8,4-11,10-12,4-11). The battle for fifth place went in favor of Sofia POLCANOVA of Austria, who beat Sabine WINTER of Germany 2:4 (11-6,9-11,6-11,11-7,6-11,8-11). In the duel for the seventh place Georgina POTA of Hungary beat Tetyana BILENKO of Ukraine 3:4 (4-11,11-7,11-8,11-8,8-11,7-11,7-11).
The Top 16 is a qualification event for the World Cup.