Elizabeta SAMARA at the top of the EuropePhoto: Elena ELISEEVA
Coach FILIMON celebrated his birthday with the gold
Elizabeta SAMARA of Romania made her dream come true and clinched the gold medal at the LIEBHERR ITTF European Championships in front of fully packed Expo hall in Russia. She added the title in Singles to the fantastic Ekaterinburg’s record of silver medals in Doubles Event and in Team Event. In the final she overcame LI Jie of Netherlands 4:3 (11:6, 9:11, 3:11, 11:7, 12:14, 11:4, 11:4).
Undoubtedly SAMARA was under severe pressure but true her characters, she responded. At the beginning she made a quick break and won the opening game, but after that it seemed that the duel was moving in favour of LI Jie.
“When I lost two games for 2:2, the fifth game was very important. I lost it by very narrow margin, and I was only to blame. I hit three high balls and missed important points. After that I was angry,” explained SAMARA.
It was time for change.
“I changed my tactics and took complete control.”
Elizabeta took the control and seal the match in fantastic style; best possible present to the coach Viorel FILIMON who celebrated his birthday today.
“This was my dream and it came true. I can not be happier now,” said SAMARA.
Last tile in Singles Romania celebrated in 2003 when Ottilia BADESCU won the title.
Despite being higher at rankings, the odds were against Elizabeta SAMARA. Seeded one place higher then LI Jie at position no. three, Elizabeta SAMARA arguably started as the favourite; however, in reality it was the very opposite.
The two had met on three previous occasions and on every occasion the decision had gone in favour of LI Jie. In 2010, she beat Elizabeta SAMARA in straight games in their quarter-final duel at the Europe Top 12; one year later it was the same outcome in the Women's Team event at the Intersport 2011 European Championships in Gdansk/Spot.
Convincing wins but on the most recent occasion much closer. One year ago at the TMS 2014 European Team Championships in Lisbon, when they met in the contest to decide fifth to eight places, the engagement went the full distance. LI JIE recovered from a two games to nil deficit to win by the minimal two point margin in the decider.