09 Mar 2017

Third place in her group on home soil earlier in the year in Hodonin, the Czech Republic’s Gabriela Stepanova was very much the player to attract the attention in the Junior Girls’ Singles event at the 2017 Italian Junior and Cadet Open in Lignano on Wednesday 8th March.

In an event where the top eight seeds were not required to compete in the initial phase of proceedings, she emerged as one of four players to secure top spot against expectations; the other players to upset the order of merit being Germany’s Franziska Shreiner, the Slovak Republic’s Dasa Sinkarova and Belgium’s Natacha Koszulap.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

All remained unbeaten; all recorded wins against the highest rated player in the group.

Impressively Gabriela Stepanova beat Moldova’s Natalia Brinza (11-8, 11-7, 11-9). Likewise, Franziska Shreiner overcame Hungary’s Orsolya Feher but had to endure testing times. Maintaining her nerve, she prevailed by the very narrowest of five game margins (9-11, 12-10, 11-1, 6-11, 14-12).

Success for Gabriela Stepanova and Franziska Shreiner against worthy adversaries; it was the same for Dasa Sinkarova and Natacha Koszulap.

Opening day in Lignano
Dasa Sinkarova accounted for Hungary’s Kata Fule (11-6, 16-14, 12-10); Natacha Koszulap defeated Finland’s Annika Lundström (11-8, 11-8, 11-7).

Notably for Natalia Brinza, Orsolya Feher and Annika Lundström it was their one and only defeat; thus second place and progress to the main draw was secured. Alas for Kata Fule, she was also beaten by the host nation’s Terezie Sazimova (13-11, 11-6, 11-7) and thus had to settle for third place in the group and no progress to the second stage.

Otherwise, it was success for the highest rated player in each group with the top four names all enjoying a day without defeat.

It was first place in the group for Serbia’s Dragana Vignjevic, Germany’s Jennie Wolf, Nadezhda Bogdanova of Belarus and Croatia’s Andrea Pavlovic.

Miguel Angel Machado re-elected President of the Royal Spanish Table Tennis Federation
Photos: Domenico Vallorini

World Junior Circuit 2017 Italian Junior & Cadet Open Gabriela Stepanova

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