by Simon Daish
Ning Jing was no stranger to the Junior Girls’ Singles final, having finished in the runner up position at the 2016 European Youth Championships in Zagreb, Croatia.
Determined to improve on last year’s result Ning Jing performed at the top of her game in this year’s final and Russian opponent Anastasia Kolish struggled to keep up, as the Azerbaijan representative powered to a straight games win (11-3, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7) to claim the country’s first title at the tournament.
“I studied her game and I was well prepared”, Ning Jing.
Not only did Ning Jing make history in Guimarães but she also prevented a new record from being set with her victory in the last four.
The top seeded player for the event Adina Diaconu was in the hunt to become the first player to win the Junior Girls’ Singles title for the third occasion, but Ning Jing had other plans bringing the Romanian’s dreams to a halt with the seven games encounter going in the Azerbaijan player’s favour (9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 3-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3).
“I had never beaten Adina Diaconu. I was not under any pressure and it gave me the opportunity to play freely with my tactics”, Ning Jing.
However, it wasn’t all similes for Ning Jing on the concluding day in Guimarães after she and her fellow compatriot Chen Xingtai lost out in the Junior Girls’ Doubles final.
Maria Yovkova and Fanni Harasztovich of Bulgaria and Hungary came out on top in the final, as the unseeded mixed nationality partnership edged to a deciding game victory over the number three seeds from Azerbaijan to claim the gold medal (11-6, 7-11, 11-2, 5-11, 11-9).
Stag 2017 European Youth Championships: Results – Sunday 23rd July