HAN Ying, YU Fu, NI Xia Lian and YANG Xiaoxin reached semi finalPhoto: Rémy Gros
HAN Ying of Germany, YU Fu of Portugal, NI Xia Lian of Luxembourg and YANG Xiaoxin of Monaco booked their place in the semi final of the Women’s singles event at the European Games 2019 Minsk.
HAN Ying of Germany avenged her 2015 defeat at the first European Games in Baku against LI Jie (5-11, 11-8, 12-14, 7-11, 5-11). The game was played under expedite rule and it seamed worked in favor of German player.
“ I tried to be more aggressive, no t toe be to much passive. I have mixed record against her. I beat her recently, but I still remember our match from Baku,” said HAN.
In next round she will meet YANG.
“If I repeat my today’s game I do not have reason to worry. I am very satisfied with my performance.”
NI Xia Lian of Luxembourg overcame Linda BERGSTROM of Sweden (11-8, 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9).
NI Xia Lian won gold medal in team’s event and in mixed doubles at the World Championships in 1983 for China, she played three times at the Olympic Games and won two gold medals in singles for Luxembourg in 1998 and 2002. Although NI made a break and thought she may leave table tennis for good, in Minsk she plays like in the best days.
Famous as incredibly difficult adversary for the players with the defensive style of play, she proved it once again against Swede.
“I beat her already twice, so I had some mental advantage. Nevertheless, I was cautious. I knew I can not risk to much, I have to play conservative and to be patient. Even I was prepared, she surprised me a little. She improved her game very much,” said NI.
YANG Xiaoxin of Monaco was the first player to book her semi final place on the third day of the play. She overcame bronze medalist from European Championships in 2015 Polina MIKHAILOVA of Russia in straight games (7-11, 9-11, 1-11, 5-11). Russia’s player could not find the answer for YANG, nor the game to block her.
“I played two time before in French League against MIKHAILOVA and both time won. I like to play against her style. I know what to do to win. Most important thing is to change rhythm of the game constantly. I never used same service, nor play at the same side. I changed forehand for backhand, went close to the table, back…In second game she had a chance, she came close, but after I prevailed I thing she just lost her edge,” said YANG.
In the match full of turns YU Fu of Portugal overcame Petrissa SOLJA of Germany (11-8, 12-10, 10-12, 11-6, 8-11, 7-11, 13-11).
"I've played her two times before and our matches have been like this both previous times. The first time she did 3-0 and I came back to 3-3. The second time I was up 3-0 and she came back to 3-3. It's always like this. One starts and the other comes back. It's really hard to close the match because she's really difficult. She always plays it on the table."
On facing 55-year-old upset NI Xia Lian in the semi-final:
"I only remember having played her once before. I won. We've both played for many years and are very experienced in this sport but now we're in the semi-finals and all matches are very even."