European finalists tested each other againPhoto: Linda KARLSSON
2016 ITTF-European Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Swedish city of Halmstad
There are eight names left in the Women’s Singles Event at the 2016 ITTF-European Olympic Games Qualification Tournament, in the race for the two remaining viza’s for Rio 2016. At the penultimate day of the competition in the Swedish city of Halmstad, the there rounds in second stage tournament concluded in very dramatic style.
The women who survived the challenges and who will continue their journey in two more rounds tomorrow are LI Jie of Netherlands, Anamaria ERDELJI of Serbia, Georgina POTA of Hungary, Matilda EKHOLM of Sweden, Katarzyna GRZYBOWSKA of Poland, Tetyana BILENKO of Ukraine, Viktoria PAVLOVICH of Belarus and LI Fen of Sweden.
The draw for the second tournament put together the last year’s European Championships’ finalist again. However, unlike the last time, LI Jie of Netherlands was the one who left the box with her head high. Elizabeta SAMARA of Romania suffered defeat in the second round after narrowest of margin. She stretched LI to full distance, but failed to nail the victory in the nail biting finish.
“I was not so nervous like I was at the European Championships. I knew what to expect against SAMARA. The greatest problem for me here is the ball. I am struggling to find the way to play in effective way. It is impossible to make the spin with the new balls,” said LI.
In the third round LI beat Amelie SOLJA of Austria in straight games.
Things finally look better for Matilda EKHOLM of Sweden, who beat Bernadette SZOCS in the second round.
“SZOCS played very good. She is the kind of player who does not allow you to relax. You have to go after each ball and to hit as strong as you can, or she will punish you. I have to keep the low spin in order to beat her,” explained EKHOLM.
She faced Gabriela FEHER of Serbia in next round and raised her game to the next level against very spirited adversary.
Anamaria ERDELJI of Serbia almost lost second round duel after she was 3:1 ahead against Iveta VACENOVSKA of Czech Republic.
“After I lost a match bal at 3:1 and 10:6, I thought it is the end. I started to laugh at myself. I felt like I am a joke. I needed two next games and tremendous support from all my teammates to come back,” said ERDELJI.
Almost same scenario was seen in the next round when she met Margaryta PESOTSKA of Ukraine. After 3:0, she failed to took advantage of match ball. However, she needed only one game to recover and win.
Viktoria PAVLOVICH of Belarus beat Renata STRBIKOVA of Czech Republic and Barbora BALAZOVA of Slovakia today.
“I have not see BALAZOVA play for years. I did not know what to expect. I know that she has fast top spins and I knew it will not be easy to beat her. That is why I was very focused from the beginning,” said PAVLOVICH.