A change of partner, a change of name, a change of fortunes; the first two phrases held true at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships in Alicante, Spain for Kristin Lang but not the third.
On the afternoon of Sunday 23rd September, she partnered German colleague, Nina Mittelham to gold in the Women’s Doubles event.
Success but it was hard fought and very nearly did not happen. In a tension packed final, the no.13 seeds, accounted for the combination of Russia’s Yana Noskova and Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.10 seeds, by the very narrowest of seven game margins (12-10, 8-11, 6-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 14-12).
“The chances were 50:50 but we seized the opportunity. The final was very difficult but we were forced and changed our tactics a few times. We had to be aggressive and to take control from the very beginning; otherwise Noskova and Polcanova were unbeatable.” Kristin Lang
Competing under her maiden name in Budapest two years ago, the records read that Kristin Silbereisen partnered compatriot Sabine Winter to success; now by winning in Alicante, Kristin Lang becomes the only player to have won in 2016 and to emerge a winner in Alicante.
Furthermore, she equals the success of her compatriots. Similar to Sabine Winter, Nicole Struse and Elke Schall; Kristin Lang becomes the fourth German to have won the European Women’s Doubles title on two occasions. In addition to the Budapest success, Sabine Winter emerged successful in partnership with Petrissa Solja in 2013 in Schwechat, whilst in an earlier era, Nicole Struse and Elke Schall established themselves as Germany’s best ever partnership in the history of the tournament. They struck gold in 1996 in Bratislava and retained the title in 1998 Eindhoven.
Notably, Sofia Polcanova is the first player to represent Austria in a European Championships Women’s Doubles final.