Feeling the pressure
Date: 12/16/2022 10:56 PM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
On the second day of the qualification stage for the 2023 European Mixed Team Championships, Group 1 has had its first matches whereas the rest are starting to hint at who can make it out of the group stage.

We are already on the second day of the qualification stage for the 2023 European Mixed Team Championships. Group 1 has seen its host England winning big against Slovakia, 5-0, and Poland beating Norway in what was a close team match. Meanwhile, after two days of fighting for points, the other four groups are already seeing some teams placing themselves as leaders; however, there is still time for others to challenge them. Let’s take a look at what has happened today in all five different locations.

Group 1:
What better way for the host team to kick-start day one for Group 1 than by winning their first team match of the competition? To start off the day in Milton Keynes, England faced Slovakia in what was a solid performance from the English side who managed to win all matches in straight games except for the women’s singles. Georgina Bland, England, had to fight three games to get the win against Centre of Excellence’s player Martina Repiska, Slovakia.

“She was getting a good start in the third game, but my coach was telling me to believe in every point and go for it. I started coming back and after that, it was just fighting for every point. It feels great to get a point for the team”, explained Bland after her win.

The second team match of the day was not that easy for the winning side. It was pretty close between Poland and Norway all the way through the last and fifth match, with the scoreboard announcing a 2-2 tie. However, Poland got to finally celebrate after a win in straight games by Dominika Kwasnik/ Kornelia Marczak.

Group 2:
Just like yesterday, Estonia took the win in their team match today but not without a fight. The kick-off was a 54-minute mixed doubles clash between David Salutt/ Yasmine Hamza and Kristjan Kaljurand/ Helina Rüütel in three games in which Estonia took the lead. It was all on the fifth match, the women’s doubles, to see who would be going up on the group table. This is the second win for Estonia and the second loss for Italy, despite it being a close call.

The hosts, Netherlands, had yet another great evening although this time, they would not be conceding any losses against their opponents. Playing against Israel, the Dutch team achieved a 5-0 win. This places the Netherlands as the leader of the group, with Estonia as the runner-up. 

Group 3:
In Subgroup 1, today’s 5-0 win from Switzerland against Iceland has got them to the top of the table. The team is now leading, but tomorrow the subgroup’s two top teams will be facing each other. 

In fact, all results in Group 3 have been 5-0 so far. While Ukraine was leading Subgroup 2 this morning, Hungary got to play for the first time today, and their win against Greenland has got them to the top spot. Tomorrow, the two best teams in Subgroup 2 will be fighting for the chance to play the final qualification encounter on Sunday. 

Group 4:
Sweden finally had their chance to compete in Glasgow, Scotland. Their opponents, Portugal, tried turning it around after their 0-5 lost yesterday. Bernardo Atilano took the match against Felix Burestedt to three games, but still didn’t get to take the first win. It was then all wins in straight games for Sweden, who will be facing the other top team in Subgroup 2, Ireland.

Czech Republic also stepped on court for the first time in these qualifications today. The team was leading 2-0 when Kim Schmidt gave quite a performance against Katerina Tomalova, winning and giving her team a point in a match that lasted over an hour. Still, the Czech Republic managed to secure two more wins in the last two events.

Group 5:
After yesterday’s loss against Bulgaria, Slovenia stepped it up today in their encounter against Belgium. Miha Ivančič/ Petra Polanc gave their team the first point of the day, but Belgium then went on to win the three following matches. It was already a win for the Belgian team, but Zoja Novak/ Lia Salehar got a second point for Slovenia.

Austria won their encounter against Lithuania, who faced the same result as they did yesterday. “I think that we all performed at our level. It is unfortunate that Katrine didn’t get to close her match in the second game, but we are all happy. I think that our team has a realistic chance to beat Finland. We are all hungry to beat them and proceed to the finals”, said Austria’s Luka Wraber about their 4-1 win and their team match against Finland tomorrow.
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