by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The most testing experience came in the quarter-finals when Leili Mostafavi of France, the no.7 seed, proved a most worthy adversary; she extended Sabina Surjan the full seven games distance, at one stage holding a two games to one advantage (11-4, 5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 11-3).
A hard fought success, the semi-final and final were equally hard fought but less demanding; five game wins were the eventual verdicts. No doubt possessing an extra ounce of confidence following her close quarter-final win, she added to French pain by overcoming Lucie Gauthier, the no.4 seed (8-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9) prior to securing the title at the final expense of Croatia’s Andrea Pavlovic, the no.3 seed (11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-5).
Success and a third career ITTF World Junior Circuit Girls’ Singles title, last year she won on both home soil in Serbia and in Hungary, notably finishing in fourth place on the Standings. However, she did not qualify for the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals in Luxembourg as she had only competed in Europe.
Now in only the third month of the year, she has met the two continent criteria; in February she played in the Czech Republic.
Disappointment for Andrea Pavlovic but she can reflect on a most worthy effort. At the quarter-final stage she accounted for India’s Selena Selvakumar, the no.6 seed (13-11, 11-7, 12-10, 15-17, 11-7), prior to reserving her place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to Tijana Jokic, the no.5 seed, a contest in which she recovered from a three games to nil deficit to eventually secure victory by the minimal two point margin (8-11, 6-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7, 12-10).
The bronze medal for Tijana Jokic, it was the same colour in the Junior Girls’ Doubles event in partnership with compatriot Sabina Surjan; the top seeds, the duo experienced a penultimate round defeat at the hands of Lucie Gauthier and Leili Mostafavi, the no.3 seeds (9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7).
Lucie Gauthier and Leili Mostafavi duly progressed to secure the title and resigned Andrea Pavlovic once again to runners up spot; in partnership with Hungary’s Fanni Harasztovich, occupying the second seeded position, after winning the first two games, defeat in five games (7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7) was the end result.