by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Presently on the Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, Shi Xunyao is at no.8, Amy Wang at no.13 and Andrea Pavlovic at no.15.
Notably Sabina Surjan ended 2017 on a high note by winning on home soil in Serbia and soon after in Hungary; however, as she only played in Europe she did not meet the requirements to qualify for the Finals in Luxembourg.
Similarly, last year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, Amy Wang won in Argentina, whilst Andrea Pavlovic reached the semi-final stage in Belgium. Likewise Shi Xunyao was a semi-finalist in China and in Hong Kong. The penultimate round is no mean feat but is there a question mark over Shi Xinyao?
She suffers from the problem of being from China, if you represent that country, especially if female and lose to an adversary from a foreign shore it is news. At the 2017 World Junior Championships in Riva del Garda, Shi Xunyao was beaten by Japan’s Miyu Nagasaki in the Girls’ Team final, before losing to Spain’s Zhang Xuan in the second round of the Girls’ Singles competition. However she did partner Sun Yingsha to Girls’ Doubles gold.
A second round exit in Riva del Garda, it was the same for Romania’s Tania Plaian, the Czech Republic’s Zdena Blaskova and Russia’s Anastasia Kolish. All appear amongst the leading names in Hodonin. On the current Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, Tania Plaian is at no.16 and is followed immediately by Zdena Baskova; Anastasia Kolish shares the no.18 spot alongside India’s Archana Girish Kamath, a player who went one step further in Riva del Garda, she reached the third round.
Completing the elite names is Marahyta Baltushite of Belarus, listed at no.20 on the current Under 18 Girls’ World Ranking; she did not enjoy the best of fortunes at the 2017 World Junior Championships, departing proceedings in round one.
However, most notably Marahyta Baltushite competed on the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit in China; creditably she progressed to the quarter-final round.