08 Apr 2017

Saturday 8th April marked the opening day of the 2017 Australia Junior and Cadet Open in Tweed Heads, New South Wales and the event has got off to a bright start as the crowd was treated to a day of exciting encounters in the team competitions.

by Simon Daish

The first piece of silverware on offer at the event has been claimed after Australia ‘B’ saw off Australia ‘A’ in the Junior Girls’ Team final.

Despite being the lower seeded of the two sides Australia ‘B’ put in a dominant display against the top seeds Australia ‘A’.

Georgina Newton gave Australia ‘B’ the early lead in the tie with her straight games success against Holly Nicolas (11-7, 11-4, 11-8), before Antonia Zhang doubled the advantage as she recovered from a trailing position to defeat Matilda Alexandersson across four ends (14-16, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8).

The match was then brought to a close through Michelle Wu following her triumph over Marsha Guseva (11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9) to give Australia ‘B’ a 3-0 victory.

“We were very surprised about the upset as we are the Australia ‘B’ team. Australia ‘A’ certainly had more pressure over us, but it’s cool that we came out with a result better than expected. All thanks to Sarah Tan and Fiona Zhu for giving up their time to train with me weekly. When I’m back home they give me the motivation and confidence to not be nervous and just play my game”, Antonia Zhang (Australia ‘B’).

Naoya Kawakami and his squadmates performed well on the opening day of the tournament in Tweed Heads (Photo: Table Tennis Australia)

Over in the Junior Boys’ Team competition the eye catching performance of the day surely has to have come from the mixed nationality squad of Australia’s Benjamin Lander and the Japanese pair of Naoya Kawakami and Shunsuke Tsukidate after the fourth ranked side ended the day undefeated.

The mixed nationality team picked up a 3-0 win over Australia ‘B’ to make a strong start to the day before adding a 3-1 scalp against Australia ‘C’ to move to four points in the group.

There was also a tremendous comeback effort pulled off by Australia ‘A’ in the opening day’s evening session as Bob Liang, Rohan Dhooria and Benjamin Gould recovered from two games down to beat Australia ‘B’ in a thrilling encounter.

“We had a tough match against Australia ‘B’ they played very well and pushed us to our limits. Our team spirit is what got us through the win. We are very pumped for tomorrow’s match”, Rohan Dhooria (Australia ‘A’).

Alongside the Junior Team events taking place on Day One in Tweed Heads there was also action from the Cadet Boys’ and Cadet Girls’ Team tournaments.

The Australia ‘A’ squad of Noah Kim and Finn Luu and the Australia ‘B’ team of Nicholas Lum and Alex Yeung both prevailed over Australia ‘C’ and Australia ‘D’ to set up an exciting Day Two duel to see which team tops the Cadet Boys’ Team group, while over in the Girls Team event Australia’s Chermaine Quah and USA’s Lavanya Maruthapandian won their sole tie of the opening day against Australia ‘B’.

World Junior Circuit 2017 Australian Junior and Cadet Open Rohan Dhooria Antonia Zhang

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