11 Mar 2017

Represented by Katarina Strazar, Ana Tofant and Aleksandra Vovk; Slovenia proved the surprise outfit the Junior Girls’ Team event at the 2017 Italian Junior and Cadet Open in Lignano on Friday 10th March.

Against expectations they finished in first place in their initial stage group; an event where there was minimal room for error; only the outfits in each of the five groups, who secured top spot advanced to the main draw.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The no.6 seeds, after making an impressive start to their campaign by recording a three-nil win against the Portuguese combination of Raquel Martins, Alexandra Pisco and Rita Varejao, the no.13 seeds; they upset the odds by overcoming the Czech Republic combination of Zdena Blaskova, Katerina Cechova and Anezka Ilcikova, the no.5 seeds.

A three-one verdict was the end result with Katerina Cechova giving her team the ideal start. She accounted for Ana Tofant by the very narrowest of margins (11-7, 7-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9) but from that moment forward it was downhill for the Czech trio.

Zdena Blaskova was beaten by both Aleksandra Vovk (11-8, 11-8, 11-5) and Ana Tofant (11-2, 5-11, 11-3, 12-10); sandwiched in between Katarina Strazar overcame Anezka Ilcikova (11-8, 12-10, 11-9).

Day Three: action from the 2017 Italian Junior and Cadet Open

Meanwhile for Serbia, the top seeds, who selected from Tijana Jokic, Izabela Lupulesku, Sabina Surjan and Dragana Vignjevic, there were no such mishaps.

Similarly, Germany with Lotta Rose, Laura Tiefenbrunner, Franziska Schreiner and Jennie Wolf called to duty, first place was secured without the need for a full five match contest, as it was for the combination formed by Thailand’s Monapsorn Saritapirak who joined forced with Nadezhda Bogdanova and Marharyta Baltushite.

However, for Hungary, the no.4 seeds, life was more treacherous. After a three-one win was posted against the Italy ‘A’ trio of Marcella Delasa, Simona Ettari and Sofia Mescieri; with Fanni Harasztovich replacing Kata Fule in the line-up, the full five matches were needed to secure victory against the trio comprising Romania’s Tania Plaian who allied with Yoeke Gunsing and Vera Van Boheemen of the Netherlands.

Thorn in the side of the Hungarians was Tania Plaian; she beat both Orsolya Feher (8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7) and Leonie Hartbrich (9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 15-13). However, defeats for Vera Van Boheemen against Leonie Hartbrich (11-5, 16-14, 11-9) and Orsolya Feher (12-10, 11-7, 11-7) plus success for Fanni Harasztovich in opposition to Yoeke Gunsing (11-4, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9) determined the outcome.

Play in the Junior Girls’ Team event concludes on Saturday 11th March.

Day Two: 2017 Italian Junior and Cadet Open
Photos: Domenico Vallorini

World Junior Circuit 2017 Italian Junior & Cadet Open Aleksandra Vovk Katarina Strazar Ana Tofant

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