Reigning champions one step closer to sixth crownPhoto: Rémy Gros
Germany booked another final of the European Championships. In Luxembourg, in the semi final of the Women’s Teams Event at the LIEBHERR ITTF European Championships, reigning champions will fight for the sixth crown, third in the row. Much harder then the rankings predicted they overcame Netherlands on their way to the ultimate stage.
It was Dutch team, who was only ranked third in their Group, who had a better start. LI Jie needed four games to overcame SHAN Xiaona (11:13, 11:8, 15:13, 11:8), but it did not took long before champions stroke back. HAN Ying responded fiercely and beat Britt EERLAND (2:11, 3:11, 5:11).
“I did not expect such a close game against Netherlands. I knew we will need a lot of patience, but to be honest I thought they would not put us under such pressure. However, against Britt I did not have any problems. She is not very comfortable with my defensive style of play,” said HAN.
Kim VERMAAS, 21 years old gave Netherlands another chance. She overcame Germany’s youngster, 20 years old Nina MITTELHAM (11:7,7:11, 6:11, 11:7, 11:9).
The crucial match was the one between LI Jie and HAN. HAN failed to convert few game balls in two opening sets and she was 0:2 down before she rebuilt her game (13:11, 12:10, 7:11, 11:6, 11:6).
“I was not confortable against LI. Generally I found it hard to play against defenders, but I had my chances. When I saw that something has to be done and that I had to change the tactics, I started to play like I did at the trainings. I do not like that kind of play, but it was much safer and it proved as right decision,” said HAN.
SHAN Xiaona overcame Britt EERLAND to seal the match (6:11, 5:11, 11:3, 9:11).
“I was too passive at the beginning. I made same mistakes in the match against Britt EERLAND in the third game like I did against LI, but luckily I recovered fast with aggressive approach,” said SHAN.
With the tears in her eyes, Britt EERLAND found a strength to look at the defeat from the good angle.
“I am sad, we were very close. We came a long way, by making the upset and beating Czech Republic in our group for the place in the top 8. I also avenged my Olympic Games defeat in the match against Austria and after 2011 we are at the medal rostrum again…It is wonderful result for such young team,” said Britt.