Shen Yanfei, Women's Europe Top 16 Champion - Butterfly Table Tennis
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Shen Yanfei, Women’s Europe Top 16 Champion! – Photo courtesy of ITTF / by Rita Tarboda

Shen Yanfei, Women’s Europe Top 16 Champion

Congratulations Shen Yanfei, Women’s Europe Top 16 Champion!

First Appearance in Final, Shen Yanfei Secures Title in Style
Courtesy of ITTF

Winner on three occasions on the ITTF World Tour succeeding in Korea in 2010 and then two years later in both Japan and Germany; Spain’s Shen Yanfei won the Women’s event at the 2015 ITTF-Europe Top 16 in the Portuguese city of Gondomar on Sunday February 7th.

The no.5 seed, Shen Yanfei overcame Turkey’s Hu Melek, the no.2 seed, to arrest the title (4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5).

Difficult Against Doubles Partner 
“It was difficult to play against Hu, especially since she beat me last time”, said Shen Yanfei. “We are also doubles partners and know each other well.”

Doubles partners, they are very effective doubles partners; last October they won the Women’s Doubles title at the Liebherr 2015 European Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Lost the previous visit, in fact in world ranking events, Shen Yanfei had never beaten Hu Melek. Two previous meetings; in 2013, they met in the Women’s Singles event at both the Liebherr World Championships in Paris and at the Mediterranean Games in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria.

Shaky Start 
“I had shaky start of the tournament; in all three matches in the group I was forced to go the full distance”, explained Shen Yanfei.

Hard fought duels indeed, she accounted for Russia’s Yana Noskova (9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5), Hungary’s Georgina Pota (11-9, 3-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5) and Germany’s Wu Jiaduo (11-8, 3-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9).

“However all worked out well and gradually I played with more confidence”, added Shen Yanfei. “At the end of the day I was pleased with my performance.”

New Horizons 
A first for Shen Yanfei and there were more firsts.

It was for both Hu Melek and for Shen Yanfei their first appearance in the final of the ITTF-Europe Top 16 tournament or in any previous version of the event, which started life as the Europe Top 12 in 1971.

Not only was it the first time in the final, it was the first time either had progressed beyond the quarter-finals; the previous best for Hu Melek was quarter-final finish last year in Baku, for Shen Yanfei, the same round in Copenhagen in 2006.

Furthermore was the first time either Spain or Turkey had been represented in the final.

Third Place 
The third place was secured by Austria’s Liu Jia; she overcame Romania’s to finish in the bronze medal position (11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-4).

Men’s Singles Final: Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) def. Joao Monteiro (POR) 4-2
Women’s Singles Final: Shen Yanfei (ESP) def. Hu Melek (TUR) 4-1

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