17 Sep 2017

Impressive in the group stage one day earlier, it was the very same one day later, Saturday 16th September, in the main draw in the Cadet Girls’ Team event at the 2017 Croatia Junior and Cadet Open in Varazdin.

There was not stopping the Chinese Taipei duo of Cai Fong-En and Chen Ci-Xuan as they marched inextricably to gold.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The duo surrendered just one individual match en route the title; that being at the quarter-final stage when confronting the Korea ‘A’ team outfit formed by Lee Dayeon and Kim Nayeong.

Chen Ci-Xuan was beaten by Kim Nayeong in the second match of the fixture by the minimum two point margin in the deciding game (9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9). However, wins for Cai Fong-En against Lee Dayeon (11-9, 11-6, 11-9) and in opposition to Kim Nayeong (11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8) plus a doubles success (11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 11-8) secured victory,

Otherwise, there were no hiccups. A three-nil semi-final win was recorded against the duo formed by India’s Diya Parag Chitale and Russia’s Liubov Tentser, before in the final the same margin of victory was secured in opposition to Serbia’s Reka Bezeg and Radmila Tominjak.

“We are all very happy of course but also tired. It was very difficult to win this gold because of so many matches. We played not only in a team competition but also in singles and doubles.” Cai Fong-En

A smooth path to the final, for Serbia who had received a direct entry to the penultimate round, life was very different.

They secured a dramatic win against the Korea ‘B’ team partnership of Kim Seongjin and Lee Daeun, recovering from a two matches to nil deficit, before securing victory in thrilling circumstances.

Reka Bezeg was beaten by Kim Seongjin (11-8, 11-9, 11-8) and Radmila Tominjak by Lee Daeun (14-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6). It was at that stage the revival began. The Serbians won the doubles (11-5, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7) before Radmila Tominjak overcame Kim Seongjin (9-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-3) to set the scene for Reka Bega to be the nation’s heroine.

She duly obliged, in a tension packed contest, she overcame Lee Daeun by the minimum two point margin in the deciding game (15-13, 11-5, 8-11, 7-11, 11-3).

“These are our first medals as a team. We are happy and how we played. We gave our best.” Radmila Tominjak

The eventual silver medal was hard earned.

World Junior Circuit 2017 Croatia Junior and Cadet Open Chen Ci-Xuan Cai Fong-En

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