by Simon Daish
Four competitors representing Croatia were involved in Junior Girls’ Singles action at the start of the day, but Andrea Pavlovic was the only player from the country who was able to extend her stay in the competition.
Facing off against Emilia Manukyan of Italy, Andrea Pavlovic demonstrated a good combination of aggression and stability throughout the match (11-8, 11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6) and the Croatian is hopeful of more positive results on the horizon.
“Last year I also reached the second round and I hope that I will progress further in Portugal. I did not expect any difficulties in the match against Manukyan, it was only important to stay focused”, Andrea Pavlovic.
Deng Simeng came close to suffering what would have been a big upset, as the Azerbaijan player recovered to beat Norway’s Maja Haugen Gjelle.
Following the conclusion of the opening two games it was Maja Haugen Gjelle who held the early advantage, but Deng Simeng took the fight to the Norwegian and eventually came out on top (5-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4).
Another player who was forced to come back from a difficult start was Portugal’s Alexandra Pisco who defeated Nazakat Garayeva of Azerbaijan (8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 14-12, 11-6, 11-6), and after the match the host nation’s only player left in the draw praised the contribution of her coach.
“I was two games down because my adversary had a more aggressive approach. I was serving long balls and allowed Garayeva to attack me. After the second game I spoke with my coach and we changed the tactics. I started to serve short balls and opened up more angles. I blocked her game”, Alexandra Pisco.
The Junior Girls’ Doubles tournament was hit with a big surprise as the second seeds Mariia Tailakova and Kristina Kazantseva were eliminated from the competition.
Turkey’s Simay Kulakseken and Romania’s Mihaela Plaeasu were the players responsible for the shock result, after the mixed nationality duo emerged triumphant over their Russian opponents by a three games to one scoreline (11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-3).
Defeat for the second seeds but the story was quite the opposite for the top seeded pairing of Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman, as the Romanian partnership prevailed against Spain’s Marina Ñíguez and Alba Fernandez (11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9) to progress through to the last 32.
Stag 2017 European Youth Championships: Results – Thursday 20th July