Huangshi – China, Sept 22, 2012: On debut, Romania’s Elizabeta SAMARA, the 2007 European Youth champion, sensationally booked her place in the semi-finals of the VOLKSWAGEN Women’s World Cup, following breathtaking performances in the Chinese city of Huangshi on Saturday 22nd September 2012.
She beat Singapore’s FENG Tianwei, the no.2 seed and bronze medallist at the recent London 2012 Olympic Games (11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8) to finish in first place in her group and thus booked her place in the quarter-finals, where she faced Viktoria PAVLOVICH of Belarus, who like Elizabeta SAMARA was a surprise quarter-finalist.
Earlier in the day, Viktoria PAVLOVICH had beaten LI Jiao of the Netherlands, the reigning European champion (7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9) to reserve her place in the round of the last eight, where Elizabeta SAMARA ended her progress (11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6).
In the penultimate round Elizabeta SAMARA meets Spain’s SHEN Yanfei; thus for the first time in the 16 year history of the tournament, which was first staged in Hong Kong in 1996, a player representing a European country will appear in the final. Always, in the past, Asian players have contested the gold medal match.
Equally SHEN Yanfei is a surprise semi-finalist; she made her debut in the event one year ago in Singapore and lost every match in which she was required to compete; she finished in fourth and last place in her group.
One year later she was in stunning form; at the quarter-final stage she beat Korea’s DANG Yeseo (11-7, 14-12, 11-1, 11-8) after having finished in first place in her group ahead of Austria’s LIU Jia, Hong Kong’s TIE Yana and Sweden’s Matilda EKHOLM.
Meanwhile, in counterpart semi-final, China’s LIU Shiwen, the top seed, meets FENG Tianwei. At the quarter-final stage LIU Shiwen beat LIU Jia, (11-6, 11-4, 11-4, 11-2) and FENG Tianwei defeated Singapore colleague YU Mengyu (6-11, 11-3, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7).
The semi-finals, final and third place match will be held on Sunday 23rd September, the concluding day of the three day event; proceedings commence at 0600 (GMT), the final at 1135 (GMT). —- ITTF/Photo by Qi Zheng
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