15 Mar 2018

Unexpected success, the host nation had more than one reason to celebrate as play in the group stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Series Polish Open came to a conclusion on Wednesday 14th March.

Julia Szymczak and Julia Slazak, alongside Romania’s Alina Zaharia and Hungary’s Leonie Hartbrich brought matters to a successful conclusion by overcoming the highest rated player in their respective groups and duly remaining unbeaten.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Impressively in four games Julia Szymczak overcame Russia’s Valeria Shcherbarykh (11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-4); Julia Slazak accounted for Egypt’s Amira Yousry (7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 13-11).

Hard fought contests, it was very much the same for Leonie Hartbrich. She needed the full five games to overcome Norway’s Ilka Doval (12-14, 11-5, 15-13, 11-13, 11-9). Conversely for Alina Zaharia life could not have been less demanding. She received a walk-over when due to face Orsolya Feher, like Leonie Hartbrich from Hungary.

Unexpected first places, for the leading names in the initial stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, there were no great problems as they concluded their itinerary.

Russia’s Kristina Kasantseva beat Kazakhstan’s Zauresh Akasheva (11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 12-10), Korea’s Kim Jiho overcame Italy’s Evelyn Vivarelli (11-6, 11-4, 11-4). Similarly, Spain’s Zhang Xuan defeated England’s Denise Payet (11-6, 11-4, 11-7); Japan’s Satsuki Odo overcame Canada’s Alicia Cote (11-4, 11-2, 11-5).

Players finishing in first position in each of the 14 groups plus two “Lucky Losers” drawn at random from the second placed players advanced to join the 16 seeds in the main draw; the players who received the hand of fortune having been runners up, were Norway’s Rebekka Carlsen and the host nation’s Kararzyna Wegrzyn.

Rebekka Carlsen had finished in second place in her group behind England’s Maria Tsaptsinos; Kararzyna Wegrzyn next in line to Russia’s Daria Shadrina.

Challenge Series 2018 Polish Open Julia Slazak Julia Szymczak

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