This weekend saw the opening to the „World Cup week“, with its first stop in Linz, Austria. The Women’s World Cup ended with a „one woman show“ of favorite DING Ning from China. The 24 year-old beat teammate, World Champion and Olympic Champion LI Xiaoxia in a dominating manner with 4:0, securing the title as World Cup Champion once more after 2011.
The „small final“ was won by Kasumi ISHIKAWA of Japan in a gripping match against Hungary’s Georgina POTA with 4:3, awarding her the 3rd place medal.
The course of the tournament was everything but easy for the two favorites from China. In some matches they had to stretch to their limits, most notably during the quarter finals stage, where Butterfly player and local hero LIU Jia, called „Susi“, tested the limits of LI Xiaoxia, pulling the match into a deciding 7th game. Liu Jia, active player for the local club Linz AG Froschberg who had to overcome her teammate and Butterfly player Iveta VACENOVSKA in the round of 16, supported by the crowd, surprised the world Champion time and time again with her clever serve, fast legs and relentless topspin attacks. She mis-started into the 7th game though and was unable to recover from a quick 0:4.
A similar performance showed Turkey’s HU Melek. The Butterfly player played a fantastic match against DING Ning, winning the first game in a convincing manner and lost the three games after that by only 2 points difference each. As Petrissa SOLJY (GER) and Elizabeta SAMARA (ROU) before, DING Ning was surprised more than once by HU’s clever blocking shots and ferocious topspins from the forehand side. In the end she had to acknowledge the class of her opponent, DING Ning prevailed with 4:1.
The World Cup continues. On the very next weekend, the 20 best men in the World will meet in Düsseldorf, Germany to determine the Champion of the Men’s World Cup 2014. Your Butterfly Stars will be on site, as are we.
LIU Jia (AUT) – LI Xiaoxia (CHN)
DING Ning (CHN) – HU Melek (TUR)
The “small World Championships” are starting on October 17th in Linz, Austria. The best table tennis players will fight on 3 competition days for the prestigious title of “World Cup Champion”. Liu Shiwen, reknown World Cup winner will not compete, but other super stars will. Among them, famous Butterfly Players, such as:
National Association: Austria
Date of Birth: 16/02/1982
Current World Ranking: No.12
Highest World Ranking: No.9 April – June 2005 and May 2014
Winner of the Junior Girls’ Singles title at the European Youth Championships in 1998 in Norcia and one year later in Frydek-Mistek; Liu Jia who shares the same birthday as Zhang Jike, graduated to win the Women’s Singles title at the European Championships in Aarhus in 2005.
A left handed attacking player, she made and outstanding start to 2014. In early February she won the DHS Europe Cup, before later on the GAC Group ITTF World Tour, winning the Women’s Singles title in Hungary, whilst being the runner up in Qatar.
Liu Jia made her debut in the Women’s World Cup in Wuhu in 2001; her best finish to date is the last eight. She reached the quarter-finals in Chengdu in 2007, in Guangzhou in 2009 and more recently in Huangshi in 2012.
National Association: Romania
Date of Birth: 15/04/1989
Current World Ranking: No.13
Highest World Ranking: No.13 September 2014
Winner of the Women’s Singles earlier this year at the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Czech Open; Elizabeta Samara, crowned European Junior champion in Bratislava in 2007, is at the vanguard of continuing Romanian excellence.
A player who displays exquisite feeling for the table tennis ball, the ability of Elizabeta Samara to change the speed and degrees of spin, when exercising attacking strokes, is a major facet of her play.
She has made one previous appearance in the Women’s World Cup and it was an appearance of note. In 2012 in Huangshi, she was soundly beaten in four straight games by Wu Jiaduo in her very first match of the tournament. She gained first place in the group on games ratio; then promptly proceeded to become the first non-Asian player to reach the final, where she lost to Liu Shiwen.
LEE Ho Ching
National Association: Hong Kong
Date of Birth: 24/11/1992
Current World Ranking: No.16
Highest World Ranking: No.13 May – June 2014
A pivotal member of Hong Kong bronze medal winning outfit at the ZEN-NOH 2014 ITTF World Team Championships in Tokyo; Lee Ho Ching has very much graduated through the ranks, through the age groups.
It was in 2005, just a few weeks before her 13th birthday, that Lee Ho Ching made her first ventures into international waters; she was a member of the successful Asian Team at the ITTF Cadet Challenge in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
A familiar face in her teenage days on the ITTF Junior Circuit and at the World Junior Championships, Lee Ho Ching, a right handed attacking player, was a member of the Hong Kong Team that gained bronze at the 2011 World Team Cup in Magdeburg. However, Linz in 2014 is her debut in the Women’s World Cup.
National Association: Netherlands
Date of Birth: 15/01/1973
Current World Ranking: No.19
Highest World Ranking: No.10 January 2011
Crowned European champion in 2007 in Belgrade and in 2011 in Gdansk, Li Jiao has been the player very much at the helm on Netherlands’ success in recent times. Notably she led her country to Women’s Team gold at the European Championships in 2008 in St Petersburg as well as in 2009 in Stuttgart and in 2011 in Gdansk.
Left handed, pen-hold grip, using one side of the racket only; Li Jiao represents a style from a bygone era. However, it is a style that is still very effective as Li Jiao continues to prove; her service and first attack from the forehand undoubtedly being her strengths.
The 2014 Women’s World Cup is her seventh appearance in the tournament. She made her debut in 2007 in Chengdu, her best finish being the quarter-finals in 2009 in Guangzhou.
National Association: Czech Republic
Date of Birth: 22/03/1986
Current World Ranking: No.49
Highest World Ranking: No.24 February 2013
Winner of the Junior Girls’ Singles title at the European Youth Championships in 2003 in Novi Sad; in recent years Iveta Vacenovska has established herself as the leading female player in the Czech Republic.
A high energy right handed attacking player; arguably the best career performance from Iveta Vacenovska came in 2009 in Yokohama when she reached the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event, losing to China’s Liu Shiwen.
On duty for the Czech Republic at every World Championships since making her debut in Doha in 2004; Linz will be her Women’s World Cup debut.
National Association: Canada
Date of Birth: 17/01/1989
Current World Ranking: No.100
Highest World Ranking: No.87 February 2010
The year 2014 has seen a resurgence in the fortunes of Zhang Mo; she won the ITTF-North America Cup in addition to later capturing the Women’s Singles titles at the Canadian Open and at the ITTF-North America Championships.
A right handed attacking player, consistency being very much a feature of her play, Zhang Mo first came to global attention when only 15 years old she won the Junior Girls’ Singles title at the Canadian Junior and Cadet Open in Vancouver. However, arguably her greatest success came in 2011 at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara when she won the Women’s Singles event and this qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The 2014 Women’s World Cup is her third appearance in the tournament; she competed in 2009 in Guangzhou and 2010 in Kuala Lumpur competing in the Intercontinental Cup. However, she did not progress to the main competition.
National Association: Egypt
Date of Birth: 10/03/1994
Current World Ranking: No.115
Highest World Ranking: No.115 September 2014
Winner of the Africa Cup in Morocco in 2011, Dina Meshref repeated the feat in Lagos in June 2014 and thus underlined the fact that the promising teenager, had grown into her continent’s leading female player.
Notably, Dina Meshref, a left handed attacking player, won the Girls’ Singles titles on the ITTF Junior Circuit in Iraq in 2011 and the following year in Algeria whilst being on duty at the World Junior Championships in Bratislava in 2010 and the ensuing year in Bahrain. A member of the celebrated Al-Ahly Club in Cairo, Dina Meshref competed in both the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and the 2012 London 2012 Olympic Games.
In Linz, she will be making her second appearance in the Women’s World Cup; her one previous appearance was in 2011 in Singapore when she played in the Intercontinental Cup but did not advance to the main draw.
National Association: Brazil
Date of Birth: 27/07/1995
Current World Ranking: No.115
Highest World Ranking: No.106 July 2014
A quarter-final exit in the ITTF-Latin America Cup when the tournament was staged in Rio de Janeiro in 2011; three years later, it was a very different story for Caroline Kumahara. More experienced, it was first place when the tournament was staged in 2014 in Asuncion, the capital city of Paraguay.
Right handed, an attacking player Caroline Kumahara has emerged in recent years to be an essential member of the Brazilian National Team. Notably, she played a major role in Brazil winning Division Two of the Women’s event at the recent ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Championships in Tokyo.
Linz is her second appearance in the Women’s World Cup; she played in Huangshi in 2012 in the Intercontinental Cup but did not advance to the main competition.