Petrissa SOLJA moved to the next levelPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
"My goal is to read in the future that it is not a big upset if I win against top players"
It was only the winner of the Women's World Cup in Japan, LIU Shiwen of China, who managed to stop Petrissa SOLJA on her superb run last week. 21 years old player from Germany concluded the most successful tournament of her career. She clinched the bronze and $ 150,000. The way she did it is equally impressive as the final result.
SOLJA beat world number six FENG Tianwei of Singapore and World number four Ai FUKUHARA of Japan before she was finally stopped by LIU Shiwen in the semi final. In the match for bronze she beat European Games champion LI Jiao of Netherlands.
"My goal was at least to conclude the group stage as number one for getting probably a better draw and have a chance to win the second stage opening match. In my first match against KUMAHARA I had some problems but at the end it was getting better and I managed to win 4:2. In the second group's match I knew this would be the crucial match for being no. 1 in the group," explained SOLJA.
Hungarian player Georgina POTA was next in line.
"Gina and I are playing for the second year together in ttc berlin Eastside and we practice a lot together so we both knew each other quite well. I won 4:0. The first set was close but then I did not miss any ball. I reached my first goal."
SOLJA's ambitions was far from accomplished.
" I was satisfied with the draw, to play against FENG Tianwei. I played against her in the past and I was looking forward to this match to see my improvements. Of course, I knew that I have a chance against her but for sure I didn't expect to win 4:0!"
The challenge became bigger in next round.
"So after that, my opponent was FUKUHARA. I lost already twice to her in the past. But also some years ago. The first game was all right but then the next two I did not create any chance and in the 4th set I even faced and saved a match point. I had a lot of problems with her pimples. I just tried to make the match as long as I could and then I started to feel her balls. At 3:3 I knew that I can definitely win. It was a miracle to win after 0:3."
Next one, against LIU Shiwen...
"For me she plays on a different level. It makes no different if FENG beat her some times. The first two games were quite close but then, I guess, I stopped believing and she was not under pressure anymore."
SOLJA's journey to the first ever medal for Germany at the Women's World Cup was far from over. She accepted the defeat and moved forward.
" The result was absolutely ok and I tried to focus on the match for the place no. 3. Against LI Jiao I lost like four times before and did not win even once. It was 0:2 and I thought "please I can't lose again!" Then my tactics improved. And important situation was at 2:2 when I was leading 10:7 and then it was 10:10 but I still managed to win this game. At 3:2 I thought this is my chance! I took the opportunity. I'm so happy and very proud. I beat three top players in one competition who I never had beat before. Of course, I think I improved my technique and tactics but also I guess that I have more experience now and know better what to do in the match."
SOLJA reached the new level this season.
"I feel that I need this; these matches against the top players. These matches are pushing me forward. Of course I know that I cannot win always. I reached a different level now and I will try to maintain this position."
There is only one thought in Petrissa's mind now.
"My big goal is Rio 2016. I want to qualify for the team and single competition. I guess I have even better chance now after this result. I made history. No woman from Germany before could win a medal and I am so proud."
Next tournament for SOLJA will be the Swedish Open.
" I will try to continue on the same path. In December we will play the Grand Finals. I guess I will qualify in doubles. Next year in Malaysia at the World Championships we have a good chance to win a medal. Our German team is very strong. For the future I want to strengthen my level of play or make it even better. My goal is to read in the future that it's not a big surprise anymore if I win against top players."