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Europe Top-16 Cup - 4 Feb 2018

Bernadette SZOCS clinched the gold in Montreux

Photo: Rémy Gros ITTF

China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup


It is only the third time that Bernadette SZOCS played at the Top 16 and she already clinched the top prize. Young Romanian player won the gold in the Women’s Singles Event at the China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup and booked the ticket for the ITTF Women’s World Cup in Chengdu, 28-30 September. Alongside her to China will also travel Li Jie of Netherlands, silver medalist.


In the final SZOCS prevailed after five games against LI who came in Montreux to defend her title.


“I was not thinking that I play against the title holder. I was not afraid. My self-confidence is at the highest level. I played so many matches in T2 against defenders, Asian players…I can play against everyone now,” said SZOCS.


SZOCS showed brilliant form through out the tournament. She beat Georgina POTA of Hungary, Tetyana BILENKO of Ukraine, but she said the toughest match was in the semi final against Matilda EKHOLM of Sweden.


“It was the first time that I felt frustrated and angry during the tournament. I felt I am losing control over game. It was really hard,” said SZOCS.


Romania won the gold at the European Championships, they will play at the ITTF Team World Cup and both SAMARA and SZOCS booked their places at ITTF World Cup.


“Next stop is Team World Cup. I hope for medal. Not gold , but at least medal rostrum.”


LI Jie was very unhappy after the final. Coach and former winner LI Jiao explained what happened.


“Tactically, it was very difficult for Jie to find the way through. Bernadette did not make any mistakes.”


Elizabeta SAMARA of Romania won the bronze medal and booked her place for the ITTF Women’s World Cup. In the battle for the third position she overcame Matilda EKHOLM of Sweden (11:4, 8:11, 11:6, 11:9, 4:11, 11:8).


It is the milestone in SAMARA’S career since she never reached that position in seven appearances at Top 16 and Top 12. However the consolation was not very satisfying. After the match, despite the victory, she hardly managed to hide her tears.


“It was so difficult to play against Matilda and to play this match at all. I came here for the title and my thoughts were in final already, but I lost semis. Matilda is hard adversary to beat, she proved it once again here,” said SAMARA.


True spirit as she is, she found a positive side.


“I came here to win but at least I book my place for the World Cup. It is long season ahead of me and I hope it will be better and better.”


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