by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
However, for India’s Swastika Ghosh and Selena Selvakumar it was a somewhat different story; they were extended the full five match distance in both fixtures required on the opening day.
Against the French pairing of Vony Ange Randriantsoa and Hanitra Raharimanana, it was Swastika Ghosh who proved the backbone of success; later when facing Tunisia’s Abir Haj Salah and Fadwa Garci, the pivotal player was Selena Selvakumar.
Impressively, Swastika Ghosh beat Vony Ange Randriantsoa (11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 12-10) in the opening match of the fixture against France, prior to sealing the victory in the concluding contest by overcoming Hanitra Raharimanana (11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7). The one further success for India came from Selena Selvakumar in opposition to Hanitra Raharimanana (11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5) in the second match of the engagement.
The wins for France were gained in the doubles (11-5, 11-6, 11-3) and in the fourth match of the engagement when Vony Ange Randriantsoa beat Selena Selvakumar (11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7).
Facing Tunisia, it was wins in the second and fourth matches of the contest from Selena Selvakumar that proved vital. She beat Fadwa Garci (12-12, 11-3, 11-9, 11-5) and Abir Haj Salah (18-20, 11-9, 12-10, 10-12, 11-7) to set the scene for Swastika Ghosh to complete to victory. She duly obliged, she accounted for Fadwa Garci in four games (9-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8).
Success for Tunisia, as for France, came in the doubles (8-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10) and in the opening match of the fixture when Abir Haj Salah accounted for Swastika Ghosh (11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 2-11, 11-4).
Vony Ange Randriantsoa and Hanitra Raharimanana secured second place in the group and thus progress to the main draw; they beat Abir Haj Salah and Fadwa Garci by three matches to nil.
Disappointment for the host nation but in the Cadet Girls’ Team event there was notable success. Farah Mahjoub and Maram Zoghlami remained unbeaten to secure first place in their group. it was a feat also achieved by the partnership of Serbia’s Radmila Tominjak and Egypt’s Jana Wagin, as well as by the latter’s colleagues, Roa Amro and Farida Badawy.
Play in the Junior Girls’ Team and Cadet Girls’ Team events concludes on Tuesday 20th March.