by Simon Daish
Tania Plaian is making her World Junior Championships debut at the tournament in Cape Town, South Africa. Heading into the final round of qualifying group matches the Romanian held a record of one win and one defeat in group 21.
The opposing player for the Romanian in the evening session was Fiji’s Ruta Ioane, and the scenario was fairly straightforward for Tania Plaian: she had to aim for the win and hope that the other match in the group went in her favour. By the conclusion of the round Plaian had picked up exactly what she required to move through to the main draw.
Plaian made a quick impact in her tie with Ioane and before too long the Romanian player stormed to a 4-0 victory over her Fijian opponent (11-5, 11-1, 11-4, 11-2). The win was in the bag for Plaian and to her delight the other encounter saw China’s Sun Yizhen defeat Liu Qi of Hong Kong (8-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-13, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5) to guarantee a second place finish for the Romanian.
“This is my first World Junior Championships and I did not expect to win matches but I have managed to win two out of three. I lost against a Chinese player but I am also happy that I won against a Hong Kong player. I want to do well in my first world juniors and as we are in the main draw now, I just want to continue to play well and win more matches” – Tania Plaian (Romania).
Also qualifying for the main event is Andreea Clapa, who also represents Romania, after she registered a straight games triumph over Australia’s Antonia Zhang.
Group 18 saw Amy Wang of the USA take top spot following her unbeaten run in the qualifiers, but with another qualifying place still up for grabs in the group Andreea Clapa gave it her all and her 4-0 success against Antonia Zhang (11-8, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5) proved to be enough to put the Romanian’s name into the main draw where she will face Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi in the Round of 64.
Two Romanian players qualifed from the group stage, and the same fate awaited for two Russian contestants as Daria Chernoray and Valeria Shcherbatykh both advanced from their respective groups.
Daria Chernoray had suffered a setback in her previous group 19 match after she lost out to Germany’s Janina Kammerer, but a win over home player Musfiquh Kalam in the final round of group action (11-2, 11-3, 11-2, 11-4) gave Chernoray enough points to progress.
The other Russian player Valeria Shcherbatykh made it two wins from two encounters, backing up her earlier victory over Austria’s Karoline Mischek with a straight games win against Hiba Feredj of Algeria (11-4, 12-10, 11-9, 11-4) to top group 9.