14 Sep 2017

Gold medallist at the ITTF-Africa Junior and Cadet Championships staged in Tunis earlier in the year in April, Egypt’s Marwa Alhodaby emerged the player to catch the eye on the opening day of action, Wednesday 13th September, at the 2017 Croatian Junior and Cadet Open in Varazdin.

The 17 year old remained unbeaten to secure first place her initial phase Junior Girls’ Singles group contrary to expectations.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Currently with no global status but one month ago listed at no.286 on the Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, she recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Russia’s Anna Dmitrieva (6-11, 10-12, 12-10, 12-10, 11-9), before accounting for Slovenia’s Lara Opek (11-2, 11-5, 11-7) and Croatia’s Ana Muscat (11-2, 11-8, 11-7).

Ana Muscat stands at no.364 on the rankings; Lara Opek has no present day status but in August occupied the no.114 spot and was thus the highest rated player on first phase duty; players retain their points from the previous month for seeding purposes. Alas for the Slovenian, there was also defeat at the hands of Anna Dmitrieva (11-4, 11-6, 11-7), who one match earlier had accounted for Ana Murat (11-5, 11-6, 11-7).

Thus Anna Dmitrieva, a player with no world ranking, finished in second place and advanced to the main draw; for Lara Opek it was third position and farewell.

The end of the road for Lara Opek; it was nearly the same for Hong Kong’s Chau Wing Sze; listed at no.97 on the present day Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, she was beaten by Serbia’s Reka Bezeg, who stands at no.316, in three straight games (12-10, 11-9, 11-9). Chau Wing Sze duly recovered to overcome Chinese Taipei’s Chen Ci-Yuan, a 15 year old with no world ranking, by a similar margin to which she had experienced defeat (11-6, 18-16, 11-7; the success coming after Chen Ci-Yuan had accounted for Reka Bezeg in four games (11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 13-11).

Games ratio was thus the determining factor; Reka Bezeg finished in first place (4:3) ahead of Chau Wing Sze (3:3) and Chen Ci-Yuan (3:4).

Defeat for two notable names but for the others, in an event where the top 16 ranked players gained direct access to the main draw, it was success for the leading names on first phase duty. Pertinently, Russia’s Ekaterina Zironova and Arina Slautina topped their groups as did Germany’s Franziska Shreiner and Laura Tiefenbrunner, alongside Slovenia’s Alexandra Vovk and Japan’s Yukari Sugusawa.

First places as predicted but further down the list there were surprise names who finished in top spots.

Croatia’s Sun Jiayi and the Czech Republic’s Anna Matejovska ended the day in pole positions contrary to predictions, as did the Korean quartet of Lee Youngi, Kim Seoyun, Kang Eunji and Jung Dana.

lay in the Junior Girls’ Singles event concludes on Thursday 14th September.

World Junior Circuit 2017 Croatia Junior and Cadet Open Marwa Alhodaby

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