LI Jie vs. SAMARA - battle for the crownPhoto: Elena ELISEEVA
For the winner it will be the first gold in Singles at the European Championships
In the first match of the morning session in the Ekaterinburg Expo Centre, in the semi final of the Women’s Singles Event at the 2015 LIEBHERR ITTF European Championships, LI Jie of the Netherlands, the no.4 seed, overcame Portugal’s YU Fu, the no.9 seed 4:1 (11:9, 6:11, 11:8, 11:8, 11:6).
“I had a little bit shaky start. I was very slow at the beginning of the match. In second game I did not how to respond on YU’s style. She is very good in the game against defensive players. She was to the middle and it was hard for me to answer to that. In the next game I started to move better, I played faster and that brought the good result. At the final stage mentally I was stronger,” explained LI.
Previously the 2015 LIEBHERR ITTF European Championships, they met each other once. At the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Spanish Open, YU Fu had emerged successful in their Women's Singles clash.
Earlier in the proceedings in Ekaterinburg, the two had met in the Women's Team event; the verdict had gone in favour if Li Jie.
Romania’s SAMARA, halted Polina MIKHAILOVA’s fantastic run in Ekaterinburg in the semi s 1:4 (10:12, 11:5, 12:14, 6:11, 4:11). Russia’s last representative at the Championships had an early initiative but SAMARA managed to control the match.
“I was afraid before the beginning of the match. Polina is playing high above her usual level in past six months. She improved her game tremendously. She proved she could play under the pressure. The packed hall, enthusiastic supporters all that went on her favor; I felt ”alone” here. Do not forget she beat the top seeded HAN Ying day earlier,” said SAMARA.
The crucial moment of the game came in the third game. SAMARA made the advantage, but Polina stayed close. At 9:8 SAMARA called for time out and won the game ball at her return to the table.
“Polina levelled and by the end of game I had four set balls and saved one from MIKHAILOVA. When I eventually won it I took over complete control,” stated SAMARA.
It was the third time that Polina MIKHAILOVA and Elizabeta SAMARA had met at international level; prior to the contest in Ekaterinburg honours were even. At the LIEBHERR 2010 World Team Championships in Moscow, SAMARA had prevailed; however, arguably the more pertinent result was that secured earlier this year at the NN Table Tennis Club Top 16 tournament in Baku. On that occasion Polina MIKHAILOVA had emerged successful.