by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
All concluded their first phase group encounters by overcoming the highest rated player in their respective groups.
Nikoleta Puchovanova beat Nathalie Marchetti, like Margo Degraef from Belgium (11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5); similarly Poland’s Katarzyna Wegrzyn accounted for Marharyta Baltushite of Belarus (11-2, 11-4, 7-11, 11-6). Impressive performances, it was the same from Margo Degraef alongside England’s Maria Tsaptsinos, both overcame Swedish opponents. Margo Degraef accounted for Tilda Johansson (8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8), Maria Tsaptsinos prevailed against Filippa Bergand 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9).
Defeats for four notable names there were defeats for two more in the first stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event. The Czech Republic’s Kristyna Stefcova, the highest rated player on initial phase duty, having the previous day lost to Singapore’s Zhang Wanling (8-1, 11-3, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7) once again suffered agony. Any hopes of a possible second place and one of two “wild cards” to the main draw were dashed by Italy’s Le Thi Hong Loan. She was beaten in four games (11-7,11-9, 7-11, 11-6).
Conversely, for Italy’s Jamila Laurenti, despite defeat it was first place in the group. On the opening day of play, she had lost to Finland’s Anna Kirichenko in four games (9-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-9) who, on her next visit to the table, experienced defeat at the hands of the host nation’s Aleksandra Jarkowska in five games (11-9, 11-8, 1-11, 5-11, 13-11).
In order to secure first place in the group, on the second day of play a straight games win for Jamila Laurenti in opposition to Aleksandra Jarkowska was needed. The Italian duly responded, she beat Aleksandra Jarkowska in style (11-7, 11-4, 11-8).
Thus, on games ratio, Jamila Laurenti finished in first place in her group (4:3) ahead of Anna Kirichenko (5:4) and Aleksandra Jarkowska (3:5).
First place in the group for Jamila Laurenti, it was the same for her colleague, Jordi Piccolin, the second highest rated player on initial phase duty as it was for the next in line Alina Nikitchanka of Belarus.