Kristina Zetterström the Junior Girls' Singles winner in Iraq
Photo By: Khatan Saleem
2012 Iraq Junior & Cadet Open - ITTF Junior Circuit
Winners of the Junior Girls’ Team title earlier in the week at the Iraq Junior and Cadet Open in Sulaimaniyah, Sweden’s Kristina Zetterström and Maria Engelson dominated matters on the concluding day of play, Saturday 17th March 2012, at the Iraq Junior and Cadet Open.
Together, they clinched the Junior Girls’ Doubles title to add to their list of successes, before facing each other in the Junior Singles final; a contest where matters progressed according to seeding.
At the final hurdle, Kristina Zetterström, the no.1 seed, justified her exalted position in the draw.
She recorded a four straight games win (11-4, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7) to secure her first ever ITTF Junior Circuit Girls’ Singles title.
In so doing, she completed a hat-trick of titles and ended the tournament unbeaten in singles events throughout the whole four days of competition.
The visit to the Middle East had proved most worthwhile.
Straight Games Wins from Start to Finish
Furthermore, in the Junior Girls’ Singles event, at no stage did she surrender one single game.
Untroubled in the first phase of proceedings, Kristina Zetterström overcame Iranian adversaries at the quarter-final and semi-final stages. In the former she beat Maryam Moazami Alishah (11-7, 11-2, 11-7, 11-5), in the latter, Nooshin Miralaei (11-3, 11-4, 11-4, 11-1).
A smooth path the final for 17 year old Kristina Zetterström en route to the final; for 16 year old Maria Engelson it was somewhat more testing.
No great problems in the quarter-finals where she accounted for Iran’s 12 year old Fatemeh Jamalifar in four straight games (11-6, 11-9, 11-2, 11-9) but in the penultimate round, in opposition to Egypt’s Alaa Saad, the no.3 seed, life was more exacting.
Extended to Six Games
Maria Engelson won but she needed six games and she had to mount a recovery; she lost the first two games before winning the last four to secure victory (6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-7, 11-6).
A place in the final booked but in opposition to Kristina Zetterström, it was the latter who held the aces.
Again All-Swedish Final
An all-Swedish final as had been the situation in the Junior Girls’ Team event two days earlier, when Maria Engelson and Kristina Zetterström had beaten Anette Lund and Helena Zetterström in the gold medal contest.
On that occasion Maria Engelson and Kristina Zetterström posted a three matches to one victory; the one errant contest was the third duel of the fixture, the doubles.
In the final of the Junior Girls’ Doubles event two days later, there was to be no repeat of the somewhat surprise success; in a tournament that saw all three events in the Junior Girls’ category witness Sweden versus Sweden, Maria Engelson and Kristina Zetterström extracted revenge.
They beat Anette Lund and Helena Zetterström in three straight games (11-7, 11-5, 11-6) to arrest the title.
A most successful tournament for Kristina Zetterström on her second appearance on the ITTF Junior Circuit in 2012; beaten in the second round of the Junior Girls’ Singles event at the Swedish Junior and Cadet Open in February, she commenced proceedings in Sulaimaniyah in 57th place with 96 points on the ITTF Junior Girls’ Standings.
Victory in Iraq means she now has 1,346 points and has climbed no less than 50places! She now appears in fifth place on the list.