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Europe Top-16 Cup - 5 Feb 2016

Sofia POLCANOVA upset the no. one seed

Photo: Rita TABORDA

ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup


The ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup in Portugal’s Gondomar commenced with the upsets in the Women’s Event. Top seeded Elizabeta SAMARA of Romania suffered by the hands of Austria’s Sofia POLCANOVA. Europe’s no. 22 succeeded against player ranked at the position no. 5 at the Old Continent after full distance duel 2:3 (8-11, 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 8-11).


In the opening round of the Women’s Event Sofia POLCANOVA of Austria, the player who reached the competition by being the first above the line – 17th player on invitation list, beat top seeded Elizabeta SAMARA of Romania. European singles champion from Ekaterinburg 2015, was always one step behind, forced to run after the result. Twice she recovered and level, but eventually Sofia prevailed.


“I think that SAMARA was under pressure and very nervous. I seized the opportunity. I was very comfortable in this match. Last year in Russia at the European Championships I beat her, now I felt confident and things went my way when I realized she is not that quick as she is usually,” explained POLCANOVA.


Reigning champion LIU Jia of Austria had a good start, although even she was surprised by the fast lane victory over Germany’s Kristin SILBEREISEN 3:0 (11-4, 11-8, 11-7).


“Last year in the quarterfinal of the Top 16 in Baku, Kristina had two match points against me. Again, I expected very difficult match against her at the opening, but today SILBEREISEN was not at her top level, for sure, and I am very happy that I won this,” said LIU Jia.


In the same group Tetyana BILENKO of Ukraine beat Bernadette SZOCS of Romania 3:0 (11:9, 11:2, 11:7).


As a player ranked at the position no. 143 in the Europe, Lila OLIVERIA has not complained of having the chance to play against the top European players. To contrary, she expressed the gratitude for the opportunity and in the brave effort she managed to attack Russia’s Polina MIKHAILOVA from the very beginning of the opening match duel. Host nation representatives, however, could not stay at the same track for long. Polina recovered to win the match 3:1 (9-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-2).


“I knew what to expect here, I know how hard it will be. I am honored for the opportunity I have and I will try to give my best until the end, “ said OLIVEIRA who turned 26 today.


Birthday girl won the opening game and had few opportunities in the third.


“Unfortunately I missed few easy balls,” admitted player who won all three titles, in Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles at the Portugal’s national championships last year.


HU Melek of Turkey was stretched to full distance against experienced NI Xialian of Luxembourg 3:2 (11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-8), whilst Sabine WINTER beat Viktoria PAVLOVICH in straight games 3:0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-9).


Georgina POTA of Hungary overcame WU Jiaduo of Germany 3:1 (11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9); SHEN Yanfei of Spain overcame Yana NOSKOVA of Russia 3:2 (9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5).

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