by Simon Daish
Russia emerged victorious in both of the cadet team competitions earlier in the day, and the country’s celebrations carried over to the Junior Girls’ Team final as the lineup of Anastasia Kolish, Mariia Tailakova and Kristina Kazantseva defeated last year’s champions Romania.
Aiming to win the trophy for the third consecutive year Romania entered the final as clear favourites to succeed, but right from the get-go the 2016 champions were on the back foot as Russia’s Anastasia Kolish registered a stunning victory over Romanian star Adina Diaconu (11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6).
Andreea Dragoman then took to the table for Romania and was presented with a great opportunity to put a win on the board for her team when she gained a two games to nil advantage in the second fixture, but a spirited performance followed for her opponent Mariia Tailakova who recovered to rescue victory from the jaws of defeat (7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-7) extending Russia’s lead.
“I was two games down before I started to play calmer. I rushed myself into mistakes so I had to slow down and try to wait for Andreea’s errors. At the beginning she was just superb. She put every ball on the table!”, Mariia Tailakova.
The title win was in sight and a positive showing from Kristina Kazantseva in her match against Tania Plaian (12-10, 6-11, 11-13, 11-1, 11-5) resulted in a 3-0 scoreline in Russia’s favour.
There may have been reasons to smile for Russia in the Junior Girls’ Team final, but it was very much the opposite story in the Junior Boys’ Team final as Germany lifted the trophy.
Gerrit Engemann and Denis Ivonin played out the closest encounter of the tie as neither competitor could be separated after the opening four games of the match, but eventually it was German player Engemann who came through on the correct side of a three games to two result (14-12, 10-12, 11-7, 11-13, 11-7).
Germany held the early momentum and Russia couldn’t find a response as Tobias Hippler and Cedric Meissner saw off Artur Abusev (11-4, 11-7, 11-5) and Lev Katsman (8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-5), to avenge Germany’s group stage defeat to Russia experienced on the opening day of the event.
“I knew that I had to win and I was nervous. In the group stage Lev Katsman beat me by the same margin that I won by today. I did not make many errors. I played freely and relaxed as my coach told me to… I’ve never played this well and I’ve never felt like this before!”, Cedric Meissner.
Stag 2017 European Youth Championships: Results – Tuesday 18th July