01 Dec 2016

Top places secured in the initial stage groups without due alarm; one day later, one step higher, it was a different story for the outfits who had reserved their places in the second stage of play in the Girls’ Team event at the Sun International 2016 World Junior Championships in Cape Town, South Africa.

On the morning of Thursday 1st December it was three-nil defeats for the United States, Brazil, Spain and Serbia.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Defeats but not without honour; Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi, the winner of the Girls’ Singles event at the 2015 ITTF World Cadet Challenge, being the player to come the nearest to causing an upset.

Against China, the no.2 seeds, after Alexia Nakashima had been beaten by Liu Weishan in three straight games (11-8, 11-5, 11-3); Bruna Takahashi extended Shi Xunyao the full five games distance, only losing by the very narrowest of margins in the deciding game (11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 14-12). The contest came to a conclusion with Sun Yizhen overcoming Daniela Yano (11-2, 11-5, 11-2) to seal the three-nil victory.

Equally, there was a spirited display by Spain against Korea Republic, the no.3 seeds, the overall result being somewhat harsh on the outfit from the Iberian Peninsula; only one of the three matches did not need five games to decide the outcome and that contest required four.

Kim Jiho beat Ana Garcia in the opening match of the fixture (11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 11-13, 11-4), before Kim Youjin overcame Zhang Xuan (11-6, 15-13, 8-11, 11-3). Kang Dayeon ended matters by defeating Martina Niguez (12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4).

Meanwhile, for Japan, the top seeds, and for Romania, the no.4 seeds, there were hard fought contests but no deciding games were required.

Miu Hirano set Japan on the road to victory against the United States by beating Amy Wang (11-4, 11-6, 11-7), before Mima Ito overcame Crystal Wang (9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-3) and Hina Hayata accounted for Grace Yang (11-7, 11-7, 11-4).

Similarly, there was just one individual game was surrendered by Romania when facing Serbia. After Adina Diaconu had beaten Sabina Surjan in three straight games (11-3, 11-6, 11-8), Andreea Dragoman needed four games to overcome a spirited Izabela Lupulesku (8-11, 13-11, 22-20, 12-10). Proceedings concluded with Andreea Clapa accounting for Tijana Jokic (11-8, 12-10, 11-8).

Four groups in action in the second stage of the competition; in the next series of fixtures Japan faces Chinese Taipei, China opposes Russia, Korea Republic confronts Hong Kong whilst Romania confronts France.

World Junior Championships Bruna Takahashi Ana Garcia Marina Niguez

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