Success without one match conceded was the outcome in favour of Germany against Russia earlier in the day on Sunday 14th June at the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Team event at the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan; for the Netherlands it had been a hard fought full distance success in opposition to Poland.
Later in the day it was exactly the same scenario at the semi-final stage of proceedings; Germany maintained their policy of no charity, the Netherlands kept their supporters on the edges of their seats, once again they prolonged matters.
Beat Fellow Defenders
A three matches to two verdict was the end result for the Netherlands in opposition to Ukraine with the attacking skills of Li Jie, who excels at the backspin art, proving the backbone of her team’s success.
She demonstrated her versatility to beat two fellow defenders.
Straight Games Wins for Li Jie
In the second match of the contest, after Li Jiao had beaten Margaryta Pesotska in a hard fought full distance five games duel (9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8), Li Jie overcame Tetyana Bilenko in three straight games (11-7, 11-9, 11-9).
The win gave the Netherlands a two matches to nil lead but then Ukraine mounted a recovery; they won the next two contests in full distance encounters.
Tetyana Bilenko and Ganna Gaponova combined to beat Britt Eerland and Li Jiao (9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9), before Margaryta Pesotska levelled matters by overcoming Britt Eerland (11-7, 10-12, 11-7, 12-14, 11-8).
Consternation in the Netherlands camp, there was no need; Li Jie repeated the performance demonstrated against Tetyana Bilenko; in the decisive fifth match of the engagement, she overcame Ganna Gaponova in three straight games (11-7, 11-1, 11-3).
Proceedings as Expected
“We expected things would go that way; what was important, was to avoid a one-one situation after first two matches; if that had been the case we would have had great problems”, said Elena Timina, the Netherlands Women’s Team coach. “We knew Li Jie would seal the match.”
Li Jie had delivered the goods, understandably Elena Timina was delighted with her efforts but she was delighted with the whole team.
“We have so much to offer in terms of variety of our play, the experience of Li Jie and Li Jiao; that is now mixed with fantastic improvement of Britt, it is a winning combination”, added Elena Timina. “Britt is becoming a real professional, when she is at the table she plays until the last point; she gives her maximum in every match, whether she wins or loses.”
Certainly, Britt Eerland is a sportswoman, I’m sure I could give her a tennis racket, golf club or hockey stick and she would be good at those sports.
Also, do I see shades of Bettine Vriesekoop in the way she plays?
“She has someone to teach her and most important, she wants to learn”, continued Elena Timina, two of the teachers being Li Jiao and Lie Jie.
“The atmosphere in our team pushes us to the top”, concluded Elena Timina.
Han Ying Sets Germany En Route
Eventual success for the Netherlands, for Germany it was a third three matches to nil win in succession; the opening round having witnessed a relatively comfortable win against Hungary.
In all three fixtures, Han Ying had given her team the perfect start; against the Czech Republic, it was no different. In the opening contest, after losing the first game, she secured the next three to overcome Iveta Vacenovska (7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3).
“She played some incredible points in the first game”, said Han Ying. “From the second game onwards I adjusted to her play but all the time I had to play my best.”
Success for Han Ying was followed by success for Petrissa Solja. She beat Renata Strbikova (11-6, 12-10, 11-7), before partnering Shan Xiaona to doubles success against Hana Matelova and Iveta Vacenovska (14-12, 11-9, 11-8).
“It is always difficult against Renata, she is a very dangerous adversary but maybe I am able to adapt to her style of play quicker than others”, explained Petrissa Solja. “She plays more like man, I am used to have male practice partners; she is very strong and fast.”
The final will be played on Monday 15th June.
Schedule, Draw and Results
2015 European Games: Schedule of Events
2015 European Games: Complete List of Players
2015 European Games: Women's Team Event - Draw and Results
2015 European Games: Men's Team Event - Draw and Results
photo Getty Images
photo Getty images