by Simon Daish
Zeng Jian has been named as the top seed for the Under 21 Women’s Singles category in Budapest; the Singapore competitor made a strong start to event as she breezed into the last 16.
French player Leili Mostafavi was the opposing athlete in Zeng Jian’s Round of 32 encounter and while the 16-year-old player from Europe put up a decent fight there was never any real doubt for Zeng Jian who came through the tie in straight games (11-6, 11-4, 11-9).
The top half of the draw also saw the host nation’s Bernadett Balint negotiate her match against Kristyna Stefcova of the Czech Republic in a tight five games battle.
Following the conclusion of the opening three games an upset looked to be on the cards as Kristyna Stefcova managed to establish a two-one lead over Bernadett Balint but the Hungarian player made the perfect response by claiming back-to-back games to take the win (5-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8) and edge her way through to the Round of 16.
“I was a little bit nervous as it was the first match, but I managed to get the win from being down, as its straight knockout I really wanted to win my first match against her and I did. I am slightly ahead of her in the ranking which added a little bit of extra pressure on me… I followed the tactics my coach Peter Teglas gave which was to try and attack and topspin as much as I could to her backhand”, Bernadette Balint.
However, there was disappointment for the home fans in another match featuring a Hungarian player in the top half of the draw as Orsolya Feher lost out to Romania’s Adina Diaconu. Five games were required for Adina Diaconu to pick up the win, recovering from a difficult net shot at 7-8 down in the fifth end before going on to seal the following three points on her way to victory (10-12, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9).
Russia will feature in the Round of 16 after three of the country’s representatives safely progressed from their last 32 matches.
Marila Tailakova registered an impressive three-nil victory over her Welsh opponent Charlotte Carey (11-6, 11-4, 11-7), while Maria Malanina and Ekaterina Guseva overcame Kim Vermaas of the Netherlands (11-7, 5-11, 12-10, 11-5) and France’s Marie Migot (11-8, 11-7, 4-11, 12-10) respectively.
Yet one Russian player was unable to advance to the next stage of the competition as Elizaveta Khlyzova suffered defeat at the hands of Germany’s Wan Yuan (11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5) who joins fellow compatriots Nina Mittelham and Chantal Mantz in the Round of 16.