by Simon Daish
Despite a strong outing from Izabela Lupulesku, who emerged successful in her matches against Anastasia Kolish (11-9, 11-5, 11-13, 15-13) and Mariia Tailakova (12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9), Serbia would end up on the wrong side of the result.
There were fantastic chances for Serbia to register victories in the first and third fixtures of the tie, but on both occasions the opportunities were squandered as Sabina Surjan and Tijana Jokic failed to see off Russian opponents Mariia Tailakova (11-6, 11-9, 12-14, 9-11, 11-13) and Daria Shadrina (11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 6-11, 2-11) respectively.
Anastasia Kolish may have lost her earlier encounter against Izabela Lupulesku but the Russian contestant redeemed herself in the concluding fixture of the match, beating Sabina Surjan over four ends (5-11, 11-8, 5-11, 10-12) to put Russia through and leave Serbia disappointed.
“This is not our first final. We missed out last year, but we have been here before and we want to win a trophy!”, Mariia Tailakova.
Romania is the other team to progress through to the Junior Girls’ Team final, after the defending champions recovered to beat Azerbaijan in the last four.
The match actually started well for Azerbaijan’s as Ning Jing defeated Andreea Dragoman in the deciding game (9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 2-11, 7-11) to put Romania on the back foot.
However, the scores were soon brought level once again with Adina Diaconu contributing a win for Romania against Chen Xingtai (11-3, 11-8, 11-7) to demolish Azerbaijan’s early momentum boost.
Tania Plaian then stepped up for Romania, seeing off Deng Simeng in the third fixture (11-5, 14-12, 5-11, 11-8) before Adina Diaconu picked up her second victory of the tie with a fourth game triumph over Azerbaijan star Ning Jing (11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9).
“This is my fifth final in the team event and I hope we will achieve our plan to retain the title. We had some hard matches today, especially against Azerbaijan. Their players are very fast. I needed to keep up with their rhythm and to be even faster”, Adina Diaconu.
Stag 2017 European Youth Championships: Results – Monday 17th July