Three players through to the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships in Alicante on Saturday 22nd September; German hopes high for podium places, when the round concluded, they were broken dreams.
Han Ying, Sabine Winter and Petrissa Solja all suffered defeats. Also one further dream was shattered; that harboured by Romania’s Bernadette Szocs of repeated her Europe Top 16 success of earlier in the year.
Sabine Winter and Han Ying were the german players to experience surprise exits.
The no.9 seed, Han Ying was beaten by Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska (12-10, 11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 13-11), a player whose journey had started four days earlier in the qualification tournament. However, with having both Tetyana Bilenko and Ganna Gaponova as colleagues in the national team, she is no stranger to competing against the defensive art.
“It was so hard to play against her defensive style. I had to change the rhythm, the tactics constantly in order to find the right way to beat her. Every point was important.” Maragaryta Pesotska
Arguably the defeat experienced by Sabine Winter, the no.14 seed when facing Poland’s Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc was a greater surprise; Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc, the no.29 seed has shown no great form this year on the international scene, suddenly in Alicante, she can do no wrong. She beat Sabine Winter in four straight games (11-3, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8).
“I was very focused. I did not think about anything, except about next ball. I did not even look at the scoreboard.” Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc
Two somewhat surprise defeats, for Petrissa Solja, the no.15 seed, it was as anticipated, she was beaten by Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the top seed (10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7), who now has a guaranteed three medals. Yesterday, she partnered colleague Stefan Fegerl to Mixed Doubles silver, earlier today alongside Russia’s Yana Noskova, she reserved her place in the Women’s Doubles final.
“It is always difficult to play against Peti. She beat me many times before but after our last encounter I felt I can finally turn the tables. At the World Championships I finally overcame her and tore down the barrier. She is very dangerous and she put me under severe pressure but I did not let her play her game. I controlled the situation. I have improved my game a lot in past two years. I have had to overcome a very difficult time of my life. My father Mihail died from cancer and it took me time to heal the wounds. Now I have come back and even stronger; the three medals I dedicate to my father.” Sofia Polcanova
Success for Sofia Polcanova, being the top seed she is very much the favourite for the gold but for many, eyes focused on Romania’s Bernadette Szocs. The no.4 seed, she experienced a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Poland’s Li Qian, the no.5 seed (11-9, 11-6, 14-16, 21-6, 11-7).
The win means Poland is guaranteed a place in the final; in the penultimate round Sofia Polcanova meets Margaryta Pesotska, Li Qian confronts Katarzyna Grzybowska Franc.
Play in Alicante concludes on Sunday 23rd September.