MITTELHAM’s fantastic win pushed Germany into the finalPhoto: Rémy Gros
European Games 2019 Minsk
First team to book the place in the final of the Women’s Teams Event at the European Games 2019 in Minsk, this morning, was Germany. Against the odds they overcame Poland 3-2 and continued toward their goal – gold and the place for the Olympic Games 2020 in Japan. HAN Ying won her both matches, but the brave effort of Nina MITTELHAM in the decisive match pushed the team to the ultimate stage.
Germany was the favorite for the gold until yesterday when the team was shattered by the injury of no. one player Petrissa SOLJA. She got injured in the quarterfinal match against Britt EERLAND. In absence of SOLJA, SHAN got her chance. Today was her first appearance at the tournament.
Natalia BAJOR and Natalia PARTYKA overcame SHAN Xiaona and Nina MITTELHAM in the opening doubles match in straight games (8-11, 2-11, 12-14).
The expedite rule was introduced already from the finish of the first game between HAN Ying and LI Qian at 8-7, and immediately it was HAN who took the better of it (11-9, 11-7, 11-3) to level the match.
On her second return to the table today PARTYKA overcame SHAN with only two opening games being close (8-11, 8-11, 11-5, 4-11). HAN won another point for Germany against BAJOR (11-2, 11-6, 11-8).
Young Nina MITTELHAM (22- years old) faced European champion LI QIAN (11-4, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11) and she showed her brave face.
“In the doubles, I do not have much often chance to play with SHAN, so it was very difficult for us. It was also her first match here and it did not end up well for us. Luckily, HAN played two amazing matches. She won it quite easy, and it opened the chance for us. I am happy I seized the opportunity that had been given to me,” said Nina.
In the decisive game of the decisive match she was 6-9 down but she recovered to win.
“I did not think she is the European champion. What really was on my mind is the thought that I can play well against the player with the defensive style of play. I was shaking before the match, but as it started I felt well; I felt the ball and my confidence rose. I believed I could win. In fifth game she was up, and I thought I am tired, but I realized she is tired too. I kept on attacking and I was thinking only about the next ball,” explained Nina.
HAN praised the effort of her young teammate.
“I am so happy for Nina. This was amazing game for her. She deserved this win,” said HAN.