by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Fadwa Garci was beaten by Sabina Surjan (11-8, 11-9, 11-6), Abir Haj Salah lost Izabela Lupulesku (11-4, 11-6, 11-4), Manel Baklouti suffered at the hands of Dragana Vignejevic (11-5, 11-6, 11-4).
Throughout from start to finish the Serbians were in control; the trio comprised players who have proved themselves most worthy competitors on the ITTF World Junior Circuit; moreover they are from a part of the world where neighbouring countries are also most competitive. The geographical difference is a vital factor.
“It is very different here, the atmosphere is totally different; the Serbians played with much more spin and speed. They were far better on the first attack.” Manel Baklouti
“The training the Serbians experience is more intense; everything they do is of a higher standard.” Fadwa Garci
“Playing here is a very different situation for us; it’s good here, everything is of a higher level.” Abir Haj Salah
Quite simply the Tunisia trio received a harsh lesson but did they really believe?
Sitting courtside advising was Mohamed Ben Kahia, the national coach, his headmaster’s report was very much one of could do better.
“They can play much better than they played here; they did not really respond her. They all practise together in Tunis but here I felt they did not focus, there were not fighting.” Mohamed Ben Kahia
There was a quite understandable gap, for the Tunisians the task is not to lay history to rest but to learn from history and return wiser; next is Puerto Rico.