04 Feb 2017

Success in her opening contest in the Women’s Singles event at the Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships in the Russian city of Sochi on the opening day of play, Thursday 2nd January, was the lot for the host nation’s Maria Malanina.

The highest rated player in the first stage of proceedings, the top eight names being exempt, she accounted for Croatia’s Andrea Pavlovic in seven games (5-11, 11-3, 11-2, 11-13, 8-11, 11-4, 11-2).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

However, in her second contest it was defeat at the hands of Belgium’s Nathalie Marchetti; she was beaten in six games (11-9, 7-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4).

“The result is very good, but it is not such a big surprise; it was a good opportunity to play against a very good Russian’s player with defensive style of play. Nathalie was ready”, Marc Closset, Belgian National Coach after Nathalie Marchetti had beaten Maria Malanina

“I know Malanina was favourite but I stood the pressure. I feel confident, playing against the defenders. My service game was very good”, Nathalie Marchetti, after overcoming Maria Malanina

A place in the second phase of proceedings for Maria Malanina in doubt, players finishing in first and second positions advancing, help was needed; Andrea Pavlovic duly provided the assistance required. She accounted for Nathalie Marchetti in five games (9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6).

Thus games ratio was needed to determine the outcome. Andrea Pavlovic secured first place (7:5), followed by Maria Malanina (6:7). Nathalie Marchetti, the player had caused one of the biggest upsets of the day, concluded matters in third place and thus there was no progress to the next phase.

Testing times for Maria Malanina; for her colleague, Ekaterina Guseva, the second highest rated on duty in the initial phase of proceedings, life was less exacting.

She beat Italy’s Veronica Mosconi (11-9, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5) and Poland’s Julia Slazak (9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 11-8) to secure first place in the group without a blip.

Veronika Mosconi duly accounted for Julia Slazak (11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9) to reserve second place and thus progress to the next phase.

Play in the second stage of proceedings, in both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events, commences on Friday 3rd February.

 Day One: Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships
Photos: Alex Lomaev – Butterfly

Latest results: Stag European Under 21 Championships.

Stag 2017 European Under 21 Championships Maria Malanina Ekaterina Guseva