15 Sep 2017

Arriving in the country just seven weeks ago, playing on what is now home soil, on Thursday 14th September Sun Jiayi made a dream start to her international career.

At the 2017 Croatia Junior and Cadet Open in Varazdin, having claimed the Junior Girls’ Doubles title in partnership with Serbia’s Sabina Surjan, she defied the seeding to win the Junior Girls’ Singles event.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Coached throughout by Dragutin Surbek jnr, his father, the “Lion of Zagreb” a legend of the sport, after accounting for Russia’s Olga Vishniakova in the opening round (11-7, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7), Sun Jiayi went from strength to strength.

She overcame Chinese Taipei’s Su Pei-Ling, the no.2 seed (11-6, 14-12, 11-9, 11-9), Serbia’s Tijana Jokic, the no.16 seed (11-9, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4) and Korea’s Kim Seoyun (11-4, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2, 7-11, 11-9) to progress to the semi-final stage.

A place in the penultimate round booked, the 17 year old continued her progress and caused Chinese Taipei more pain. She overcame Chen Ying-Chen, the no.11 seed (10-12, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3) and Tsai Yu-Chin, the no.7 seed to arrest the title (11-6, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7).

“We knew that she is quality player but we did not know how much quality. She is a player in which Croatia has a future at senior level too, for several years. We expect great results from her. Including doubles, she played nine matches on Thursday, before the singles final. She complained of pain in her right hand and shoulder. Despite the injuries, she managed to win the final against Tsai Yu-Chin. She is very happy and happy with this success. Dragutin Surbek jnr

Meanwhile, en route to the final, Tsai Yu-Chin had impressed. She accounted for Russia’s Anna Slautina (11-9, 11-8, 2-11, 13-11, 11-4) and Serbia’s Reka Bezeg (11-4, 11-5, 11-4, 11-4), before overcoming colleague, Wen Rue-Ling, the no.13 seed and very much a player in form. In round two she had beaten Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut, the top seed (11-5, 12-10, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5). However, against Tsai Yu-Chin, it was a different scenario, a six games defeat was the order of proceedings (11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-8).

Somewhat contrary to expectations a place in the semi-final reserved, Tsai Yu-Chin continued her winning ways; she beat Hong Kong’s Wong Chin Yau, the no.5 seed (11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7), a player like Wen Rue-Ling in form. One round earlier, Wong Chin Yau had ended the hopes of Chen Ting-Ting, the no.4 seed and also from Chinese Taipei (11-4, 11-13, 6-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-8).

Earlier than anticipated exits for Jinnipa Sawettabut, Su Pei-Ling and Chen Ting-Ting; it was the same for Amy Wang of the United States, she was beaten in round three by eventual bronze medallist, Chen Ying-Chen (11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8).

World Junior Circuit 2017 Croatia Junior and Cadet Open Sun Jiayi

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