by Simon Daish
France continues to look ever impressive in the Cadet Boys’ Team event, holding off challengers Greece to book its spot in the last eight.
Dorian Zheng continues to lead by example for the French team contributing wins against Gerasimos Chatzilygeroudis (11-5, 11-3, 11-3) and Ioannis Damianis (11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8) to go alongside a good performance from Myshaal Sabhi and Jules Cavaille in the doubles match as France registered a 3-1 victory.
Yet, surely the standout top 16 fixture of the category was Belgium’s meeting with Ireland as the two teams battled it out in a match that went right down to the wire.
Ireland received a huge boost in its quarter-finals aspirations after Owen Cathcart demonstrated his amazing talent by picking up a brace of wins for the team, but rather astonishingly the win never arrived for Ireland as Belgium won the doubles while Art Mclaughlin lost out to both Olav Kosolosky (3-11, 3-11, 12-14) and Adrien Rassenfosse (3-11, 4-11, 6-11).
Six other nations moved through to the quarter-finals; Russia proved too strong for opponents Croatia, while Poland also achieved a 3-0 triumph in its tie with the Slovak Republic. Hungary, Germany, Sweden and Portugal also progressed.
The Cadet Girls’ Team competition also produced several highly entertaining Round of 16 encounters, and Moldova’s tie against Hungary in particular turned out to be a thrilling duel.
Heading into the match the odds were against Moldova who began the tournament in the second tier group stage, while the Hungarian squad competed in the top tier group stage.
However, an opening match triumph for Vitalina Brinza over Anita Drabant (13-11, 2-11, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10) and two singles victories for Natalia Brinza against Helga Dari (15-13, 11-5, 11-6) and Anita Drabant (11-2, 11-5, 11-8) put the Moldovan team into the next round.
The Czech Republic managed to narrowly move beyond the last 16 of the competition after edging out Bulgaria in a closely fought encounter. Kristyna Penkakova won both the opening and concluding singles matches, and was successful in the doubles with injured partner Linda Zaderova.
“It was a match of ups and downs. Only the first match was easy… After that Linda Zaderova had a 1-0 lead and then led 5-1 in the second game… but Ivet Ilieva recovered, Zaderova got injured… Penkakova, proved she is very strong. She saved three match points in the decisive game of the decisive match, before eventually winning it!”, Czech Republic coach Andrea Botkova.
Elsewhere Belarus inflicted a 3-0 defeat on Germany, Lituania came through its match against Croatia by a 3-0 scoreline while there were also victories for Romania, Turkey, Russia and France.
Stag 2017 European Youth Championships: Results – Sunday 16th July