22 Feb 2017

Seven girls from Russia were on duty at Orebro competing in the junior girls' singles qualifying matches on day one 22nd February 2017 at the ITTF World Junior Circuit, Swedish Junior and Cadet Open. Impressively, five out of those seven young girls finished at number one position in their respective groups, Natalia Malinina being the most successful.

By Neha Aggarwal

In group two, before the starting for the matches, she was placed at fourth position behind Ellen Holmsten (SWE), Wanling Zhang (SGP) and Sarah Horgen(NOR). But the unranked Russian surprised the entire lot by securing the top position after the culmination of matches.

Although she lost to Holmsten (2-3), but she beat Zhang (3-0) and Horgen (3-2) and secured five points. Likewise for Holmsten, she beat Malinina (3-2) and Horgen (3-2) and lost to Zhang (2-3) to get five points. Wangling Zhang too secured five points as she won over Holmsten (3-2) and Horgen (3-2) before loosing to  Malinina (0-3).

With all three girls securing five points each, matters were decided on the basis of games won over games lost ratio which made things clear. Malinina emerged the strongest with the ratio of (8:5), Holmsten at second spot with (8:7) and Zhang was placed third with (6:5).

In group four, placed 169th on Under-18 global ranking, Olga Vishniakova created ripples as she gained the top spot as a clear winner. She won all of her three matches; she beat Azerbaijan’s Simeng Deng 3-2, Sweden’s Rebecca Muskantor 3-1 and Romania’s Natalia Ianau 3-0 to progress to the main draw of 64.

Ekaterina Zironova followed suite and so did Elizabet Abraamian and Daria Shadrina by winning all three matches and securing the top spot in their respective groups to advance to the main draw.

Host nation Sweden also has its full army of girls on duty with 11 girls taking part in the qualification stage. Of those 11, six made it to the main draw. Elin Snygg brought the biggest cheers as in group 11, despite being the lowest placed player, she secured second position at the end of all three rounds. She beat Norway’s Rebekka Carlsen in a full five games encounter, Russia’s Arina Slautina in four games and lost to Eunice Lim of Singapore in also four games, and thus made it to the round of 64.

The other Swedish girls who made it to the round of 64 were Ellen Holmsten, Alma Roose, Rebecca Muskantor, Jennie Edvinsson and Filippa Bergand.

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World Junior Circuit Natalia Malinina Ellen Holmsten

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