Top seeds, favourites for gold, in the semi-final round of the Women’s Doubles event at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships in Alicante, as the afternoon came to a close on Saturday 22nd September, it was defeat for the combination formed by Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Georgina Pota.
They were beaten in a full distance seven games contest losing to Russia’s Yana Noskova and Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.10 seeds (9-11, 1-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-8).
A surprise outcome in terms of ranking; it was the same in terms of success. Matilda Ekholm and Georgina Pota are the owners of two ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles titles having won in the Czech Republic in 2016 and in India in 2017.
Also in 2017 they emerged successful at the ITTF Challenge Series Slovenia Open, by comparison the record of Yana Noskova and Sofia Polcanova reads zero, other than being good friends and having a chemistry that clearly works.
“We were three games to one in reverse, before we recovered. In the fourth game today we had to change something. We played more aggressively and then gained control.” Sofia Polcanova
Most certainly the aggression reaped dividends; in the last three games they very much asserted their authority.
“We had never played at the Championships, just at tournaments. Unfortunately, mostly against Asians players so we never got far enough to see how good we are.” Yana Noskova
A surprise outcome in the top half of the draw, it was the same in the lower half where Kristin Lang, who two years ago in Budapest had partnered Sabine Winter to gold, in Alicante proved herself once again a doubles expert, as she partnered German colleague Nina Mittelham to success. The no.13 seeds, they accounted for Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte and Ni Xialian, the no.3 seeds (13-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9).
“It has only been our second tournament together. We played at the World Championships before the birth of my daughter and then we had one year break. It was very difficult to play today. Ni is very experienced and Nina never had played against her in singles.” Kristin Lang
The final is scheduled for 3.30 pm (local time) on Sunday 23rd September.