Another tough match for the Irish ladies in Amsterdam where they faced the might of Russia, the number four seeded nation in these championships
First on-court was Irish number one, Chloe Magee, world number 46. Chloe faced a difficult opponent world number 37 Anastasia Prokopenko. This game started with a high tempo with many long exchanges as the girls fought to get a lead. Chloe took control in the big points to take the opening set 21-19.
In the second set Anastasia started well, and took the lead up to 11. From here Magee once again found her form and looked like closing out the match in 2 sets, however the Russian fought back to put the game into a deciding set. In the final set there were many long rallies to open the set, as the girls looked at each other at 5-5 there was only going to be one winner. Chloe lifted the pace of the game and Anastasia was unable to compete with Magee’s superior fitness as the Irish number one put the first point on the Scoreboard for Ireland.
Once again good ranking points towards Chloe’s Olympic qualification campaign.
Next up for the ladies it was Sinead Chambers against world number 66 Tatjana Bibik. Sinead took a while to settle into the match losing the first set 21-6. The second set started much closer with Chambers keeping the pace with the talented Russian. Despite some great play Sinead was unable to maintain the speed losing 21-12 in the second set.
In the last of the singles Alannah Stephenson came up against another very talented teenager Romina Gabdullina. This was a tough challenge for Alannah as she rallied hard losing the opening set 21-10. The Irish youngster showed some great resolve and was able to go toe to toe with the Russian in the second set. Both players showed great athletic ability with some hard earned points. The game went all the way to 18-18 before the Russian narrowly closed out the set and game with a 21-18 scoreline.
With The Russians leading two one with two doubles left Ireland continued to fight. Sinead Chambers and Jennie King played an excellent opening set against World number 15 Valeri Sorokina and Tatjana Bibic. The Russians kept control of the Match and took the game in two sets. Last match on court was Chloe Magee and Alannah Stephenson against the other half of The World number 15 pair Nana Visalova and Anastasia Chervaykova.
Magee took control of the front court as Stephenson worked hard attacking from behind as the Russians defence held strong. The Russians took the opener 21-15, the Irish girls stepped up taking the lead up until 18 in the second. The pairs both lifted the pace of the game and with some great mid court exchanges the Russians final took the game 21-19 to secure an overall 4-1 victory in what was a keenly contested affair.
The Women now face Slovakia tomorrow in pursuit of second in the group. Ireland can certainly be proud of the fighting spirit displayed by the whole team despite the loss and for the younger members of the team great experience gained which will stand them in good stead in the years to come.
The Men play second seeds Germany tomorrow in their final group match to win the group.