by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
A successful start for Valeria Shcherbarykh but she was upstaged by her colleague, Daria Shadrina.
No current Under 21 Women’s World Ranking, she beat the host nation’s Katarzyna Wegrzyn (8-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7) and Belgium’s Margo Degraef (11-8, 11-5, 11-0) to secure top place in the group; a competition in which players finishing in first place in each of the 14 initial stage groups plus two “Lucky Losers” drawn at random from the second placed players, join the 16 seeds in the main draw.
Currently on the Under 21 Women’s World Rankings, Katarzyna Wegrzyn is named at no.159, Margo Degraef stands at no.50.
One upset of note and there was one more; Norway’s Ilke Doval, listed at no.78 in the order of merit, after accounting for Turkey’s Ozge Yilmaz (11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 7-11), was beaten by Poland’s Agata Zakrzeweska, a player with no global status, in one of the closest contests of the day (11-3, 8-11, 11-9, 4-11, 13-11).
Earlier Agata Zakrzeweska had lost to Hungary’s Leonie Hartbricht (12-10, 11-6, 11-5); the Hungarian ending the day as the one unbeaten player in the group. After overcoming Agata Zakrzeweska, Leonie Hartbricht accounted for Ozge Yilmaz (7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9). One match remains in the group for each player.
Problems for notable names but not for leading lights on initial phase duty; Russia’s Kristina Kazantseva beat Norway’s Maja Haugen Gjelle (6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8), whilst Korea’s Kim Jiho, Spain’s Zhang Xuan and Japan’s Satsuki Odo all accounted for Polish adversaries.
Kim Jiho overcame Zuzanna Blazejewicz (11-7, 11-8, 11-6), Zhang Xuan defeated Gabriela Dyszkiewicz (12-10, 11-7 11-4); Satsuki Odo proved too secure for Paulina Knyszewska (11-5, 11-5, 11-9).
Play in the group stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event concludes on Wednesday 14th March.