The steady head of Merkle sees France through. Photo: Ben Phelan (LIVE)
Merkle steadies French ship
Date: 9/9/2018 4:43 PM
Published by : Mark Phelan
Reigning champions France going out in the group stages at #EJC18 was virtually unthinkable ahead of these championships given the depth of their squad. But for a short time in Tallinn this afternoon that possibility looked a reality after the champions lost the opening mixed doubles. 

Opposing the French in the top of the table clash were team Sweden and after Tilda Sjoo and Melker Z-Bexell beat Moinard and Delrue momentum was on the side of the Swedes. 

Arnaud Merkle steadied the French ship winning the men’s singles and Leonice Huet gave the champions a 2-1 lead with a hard fought victory in the women’s singles. Ashwathi Pillai had her chances against Huet and Sweden will look back at the women’s singles as a real turning point in the match.

- There was some pressure of course after loosing the mixed doubles. We knew this Swedish team are strong so we had to call on all our French power to win said Merkle

With nothing to loose Sweden through everything they had at France in the men’s doubles and just like the women’s singles Sweden will rue a real missed opportunity to heap the pressure on the French. Hansson and Bexell will feel they should have won the opening set after leading 10-4 and with it push Delrue and Villeger into the unknown but the Swedes let the French back into the match and caved under the pressure as France won in two. 

As if to add insult to injury Sweden went on to win the final women’s doubles and will look back at the tie against the champions as a real missed opportunity. 

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