Hannah Saunders finished fifth at the Stiga Mini Masters event in Belgium, which featured 14 of the top players in Europe.
In the seven-player group played on the first day, Saunders (above, photo by Michael Loveder) had three wins and three defeats. She started with a 3-1
(11-5, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8) defeat to in Yun Wei of Germany, followed by another loss at the hands of Rozane Le Bars of France, who won 3-1 (11-2, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10).
Saunders got her first victory on the board in the next round, with a great comeback from 2-0 down to beat Temperance Tang of Belgium 3-2 (7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10).
She backed that up with a 3-1 (12-10, 11-1, 6-11, 11-8) victory over Maria Coroliuc of Moldova, but then lost in four (6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8) to Ela Su Yonter of Turkey, the top-ranked player in the competition.
She finished on a high with a 3-0 (11-8, 11-4, 11-7) win over Nadlia Ionascu of Romania, and carried that into the last 16, where she beat Armin Aydin of Turkey 3-0 (8, 8, 9).
She faced Yonter again in the quarter-finals and it was a much closer match as Saunders led 2-0 only to see her opponent fight back to win 3-2 (11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 10-12). Yonter went on to win the competition.
The competition was played on a progressive knockout basis, so Saunders had two matches left to fight for position.
And she won them both to seal fifth place – first gaining revenge for her group loss to Le Bars with a 3-1 (6-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-2) win and then defeating Ionascu 3-0 (12-10, 11-3, 11-4).
The result improves upon Saunders’ ninth-place finish at the Euro Mini Championships in August.