by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-African Press Officer
Impressively, she opened her account by recording a straight games win over Algeria’s Malissa Nasri (11-2, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6), before in the round of the last eight succeeding in six games when facing Kazakhstan’s Zauresh Akasheva (7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6).
A hard fought quarter-final success undoubtedly boosted her confidence; at the semi-final stage she accounted for Turkey’s Ozge Yilmaz (11-8, 11-8, 11-8, 13-11), before in the final overcoming Croatia’s Andrea Pavlovic, the no.2 seed (11-1, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10). Notably in the round of the last eight, Ozge Yilmaz had beaten Finland’s Annika Lundström, the no.4 seed (8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-4).
“I am so happy that I fulfilled my two missions in Tunisia. I cried so much when I lost on day one of the qualifiers because I was leading three-one was up 9-7 in the fifth game, only two lose four-three; that was why I really cried because I so much believed in myself that I could make when I saw the draw. On the second day, I was so determined to make it at my second attempt. I cannot believe that I will be going to Argentina as the first Serbian to feature in the table tennis event of the Youth Olympic Games.” Sabina Surjan
It was a tough lesson for Sabina Surjan; to her great credit she resigned the past to history and came back stronger; she was ready for the fight.
“I must also admit that making it on my second attempt was not that easy because I had to fight in every match. The semi-final was very tough while the final was also hard for me. Despite winning four-nil it was particularly hard in the second game, I was down 7-3 and I fought back to win. This means so much to my career and my country.” Sabina Surjan
In the opposite half of the draw Andrea Pavlovic had beaten Tunisia’s Abir Haj Salah (11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8) and Germany’s Sophie Klee (8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 12-10, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8), before at the semi-final stage accounting for Singapore’s Zhang Wanling (11-3, 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6), a player in form.
One round earlier she had beaten India’s Archana Girish Kamath, the no.2 seed (11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9).
Continental Tournaments – Qualifiers (as on Sunday 17th December)
Africa: Youssef Abdel Aziz (Egypt), Nathael Hamdoun (Tunisia)
Asia: Tomokazu Harimoto (Japan), Lin Yun-Ju (Chinese Taipei), Wang Chuqin (China), Cho Daeseong (Korea)
Europe: Ioannis Sgouropoulos (Greece), Vladimir Sidorenko (Russia), Medardas Stankievicius (Lithuania), Vladislav Urdu (Moldova)
Latin America: Nicolas Burgos (Chile), Guillerme Teodoro (Brazil)
North America: Kanak Jha (United States)
Oceania: Nathan Xu (New Zealand)
Africa: Esther Oribamise (Nigeria), Marwa Alhodaby (Egypt)
Asia: Miu Hirano (Japan), Sun Yingsha (China), Jinnipa Sawettabut (Thailand), Su Pei-Ling (Chinese Taipei)
Europe: Lucie Gauthier (France), Mariia Tailakova (Russia), Ning Jing (Azerbaijan), Nadezhda Bogdanova (Belarus)
Latin America: Adriana Diaz (Puerto Rico), Bruna Takahashi (Brazil)
North America: Amy Wang (United States)
Oceania: Vong Hui Ling (New Zealand)
Road to Buenos Series (as on Sunday 25th March)
Europe: Bastian Rembert (France), Cristian Pletea (Romania)
Europe: Yu Khinhang (Azerbaijan)
Europe: Andreea Dragoman (Romania), Lee Ka Yee (Hong Kong)
Africa: Tatiana Kukulkova (Slovakia), Sabina Surjan (Serbia)