by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The no.2 seed, in the later stages Shi Xunyao accounted for Lucie Gauthier of France, the no.13 seed (11-5, 11-3, 11-6, 11-5) and Russia’s Mariia Tailakova (8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 11-13, 11-3), prior to securing the title at the final expense of colleague Huang Fanzhen, a contest in which at one stage appeared to be slipping from her grasp. She lost the opening three games before winning the next four to secure victory (5-11, 12-14, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-7, 11-3).
In the opposite half of the draw, Huang Fanzhen, who like Mariia Tailakova had been required to compete in the qualification group stage of proceedings, had proved most impressive at the quarter-final and semi-final stages. After accounting for Nadezhda Bogdanova of Belarus, the no.12 seed, in four straight games (11-7, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8), in the penultimate round she repeated the feat when facing compatriot Sun Yizhen (11-5, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5), likewise a qualifier.
An all Chinese Junior Girls’ Doubles final, it was the same in the Junior Girls’ Doubles competition; Shi Xunyao and Sun Yizhen, the no.11 seeds, after beating Serbia’s Tijana Jokic and Sabina Surjan, the top seeds (11-4, 12-10, 11-6) overcame Chen Yi and Huang Fanzhen (3-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6) to seal the title.
Not seeded, in the counterpart semi-final, Chen Yi and Huang Fanzhen had beaten the Belarus partnership of Marharyta Baltushite and Nadezhda Bogdanova, the no.2 seeds (11-4, 8-11, 14-12, 11-4).
It is the first ITTF World Junior Circuit Girls’ Singles title won by Shi Xunyao; her previous best was last year on home soil in Taicang and the following week in Hong Kong when she reached the semi-final round.