by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
After posting a three-one win in opposition to the Spanish trio of Ana Garcia, Zhang Xuan Xu and Marina Ñinguez; Belarus, who had recorded a narrow three-two success against the Hungarian trio formed by Orsolya Feher, Leonie Hartbricht and Fanni Harasztovich, awaited.
The mainstay of the Belarus win in opposition to Hungary being Nadezhda Bogdanova; she accounted for both Orsolya Feher (11-4, 0-11, 11-8, 7-11, 12-10) and in the vital fifth and deciding match of the fixture, Leonie Hartbrich (11-2, 8-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-9).
Against Azerbaijan, she gave Belarus the perfect start; she beat Chen Xingtai (11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9) but in her next contest was unable to repeat the feat when opposing Ning Jing (11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-7), the player who proved the backbone of her team’s success. In the second match of the fixture she overcame the luckless Marharyta Baltushite (11-3, 11-4, 11-6); the young lady who in the concluding match of the fixture experienced defeat at the hands of Chen Xingtai (12-10, 11-7, 11-2).
Testing times for Azerbaijan; to a lesser extent, Romania and Serbia, the respective gold and silver medallists, were given food for thought.
A three matches to one outcome was the verdict for the Romanian trio of Adina Diaconu, Andreea Dragoman and Tania Plaian against Croatia’s Karla Franovic, Andrea Pavlovic and Leona Santek in their opening fixture. It was the same in the second contest when confronting the French outfit formed by Lucie Gauthier, Leili Mostafavi and Nolwenn Fort.
The Romanian player to experience problems was Andreea Dragoman; she was beaten by Andrea Pavlovic in the contest against Croatia (17-15, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9) and by Lucie Gauthier (5-11, 11-9, 11-6, 18-16) when facing France.
Similarly, Serbia’s Sabina Surjan, Izabela Lupulesku and Tijana Jokic experienced problems in their second encounter of the day. After securing a three-nil win against Poland’s Katarzyna Wegrzin, Anna Wegrzyn and Agata Zakrzewska; a three-one margin of victory was the outcome against the German outfit formed by Luisa Sager, Jennie Wolf and Lotta Rose. The player to cause the problems was Luisa Sager; in the opening match of the fixture, she overcame Sabina Surjan (11-9, 11-1, 15-13).
“We were ready for Poland. They are very dangerous and having them in the opening round was a very tricky situation. I was sure it would be hard to beat them.” Anna Wegrzyn
Testing times of varying degrees, not for the Russian combination of Anastasia Kolish, Mariia Tailakova and Kristina Kasantseva; they recorded three-nil wins on each visit to the table.
They overcame Belgium’s Lisa Lung, Natacha Koszulap and Morgane Guidon, before defeating the Swedish outfit comprising Filippa Bergand, Stina Källberg and Jennie Evinsson.
“As always the opening match is the hardest but I gave my best to win it. We have good team spirit.” Maria Tailakova
In the remaining fixtures in the initial phase group, Romania faces Slovenia, Russia opposes Norway; Azerbaijan confronts Hungary, Serbia meets Turkey.
Stag 2017 European Youth Championships: Results – Friday 14th July