26 Nov 2017

An experienced player in the selection; most certainly in a major competition it can be a definite boost, a player to whom the big theatre is no stranger.

At the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, the youngest player on duty was Alicia Cote; now 17 years, she gave Canada the perfect start in the Girls’ Team event at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Championships in the Italian holiday resort of Riva del Garda on Sunday 26th November.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Alongside, Justina Leung and Laura Lai, she was to player to set the North American outfit on course to a three-nil win in opposition to the Algerian combination of Hiba Feredj, Loubna Djedjik and Malissa Nasri.

Alicia Cote beat a most worthy opponent in the guise of Hiba Feredj (11-8, 11-6, 14-12) in her opening contest.

“The first match in a tournament is always a test, I watched Hiba play this morning and I could see that she had good serves. At the beginning of the match I did have problems returning her serves but as the match progressed I was able to adapt. Also, I became more positive; from the backhand after two or three strokes she would switch to my forehand. I was prepared for that the happen.” Alicia Cote.

Success for Alicia Cote was followed by success for Justina Yeung, she entered the fray confident, her team being ahead rather than in arrears, her style of play not proving to the liking of Loubna Djedjik; a straight games success was the outcome (11-9, 11-7, 11-3).

“It’s the first time I’d played Loubna; I play with medium length pimpled rubber on my backhand; it can be very difficult for someone who is playing against me for the first time. I did have some problem when the ball came slowly with no spin or no power. Certainly it helped that Alicia had won.” Alicia Cote

Canada two matches to nil ahead, Laura Lai sealed the victory by beating Malissa Nasri (11-5, 11-4, 11-8).

“I felt really stressed before the match, we were two-nil ahead and I didn’t want to let the team down; I wanted to follow their example. However, once we started the match I felt calm, I’m pleased with the outcome.” Laura Lai.

Success for Canada, the ideal start in Riva del Garda.

World Junior Championships 2017 World Junior Championships Alicia Cote Justina Yeung Laura Lai

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Day 8 - 2017 World Junior Table Tennis Championships