Netherlands and Russia in the semisPhoto: Rémy Gros ITTF
After the morning session at the LIEBHERR European Championships in Luxembourg two women teams already secured medals. In the quarterfinal Netherlands beat Austria 3:2, whilst Russia prevailed against Hungary 3:1.
The only women’s team in history of European championships who managed to win 4 gold medals in the row (in the period between 2008 and 2011), Netherlands was stretched to full distance against runners up from Lisbon 2014 – team of Austria.
In the opening match LI Jie gave Dutch team a major advantage by beating LIU Jia in five games. Latter, LI added another point to the score line by overcoming Sofia POLCANOVA. However, POLCANOVA’s quality was not to be denied; she overcame Britt EERLAND on her first exit to the table; Amelia SOLJA also helped Austria reaching the fifth match after victory over Kim VERMAAS.
“The chances in both matches were very open. I didn’t think about winning or losing, I played only point for point. Now, I only want to enjoy the victory, and I am not thinking about our next adversaries. This victory is important for our new team; we have LI Jiao as our coach not as a player any more,” said LI Jie.
In the decisive game Britt EERLANDS overcame LIU Jia. Britt was 2:0 up before she faced three match balls against herself, but Dutch player recovered to win.
“We did not came here with great ambitions, but we saw our chance after the draw. We were pleased to avoid Germany in the quarters. Against Austria our chances increased and we succeeded,” said EERLANDS.
The duel against LI brought bad memories to Britt.
“She beat me at the Olympic Games Tournament in decisive game. Here, every time when I was down I pushed myself to keep playing. I played point for point; I did not want to repeat the history,” said Britt.
LIU Jia reflected: “I feel sorry for the team. If this had been a singles match, this loss would be less hard to take. But losing the deciding match is tough. We hope we will be fifth at the end.”
Amelie SOLJA was disappointed after this match: “ We had chances to win. At the beginning, it looked good, we had a 2-1 lead. Before the match we thought and hoped that we could win these two points. It’s sad that it wasn’t enough for overall victory. “
Russia won the bronze medal in Ekaterinburg in 2015 and they reached medal rostrum again. Polina MIKHAILOVA was the backbone of the team’s success with two victories over Dora MADARASZ and Georgina POTA.
“I had a tough start against Dora in the opening match, but I managed to control it eventually. We are club mates in Szekszard and it is always difficult to win such games. In the fourth duel against Georgina POTA it was much easier. The pressure was on her, because we were 2:1 up. I also had to underline the great effort of Olga VOROBEVA. She lost against POTA, but for sure after playing five games against Olga, Georgina was very tired. Olga played fantastic Championships here,” said MIKHAILOVA.