25 Apr 2018

Semi-finalist the previous week in neighbouring Belgium, Japan’s Kaho Akae was the player to cause the biggest upset as play progressed in the group stage of the Junior Girls’ Singles event at the 2018 French Junior and Cadet Open in Metz on Wednesday 25th April.

Only 13 years old, very much new to the international scene and thus with no current world ranking, she concluded matters in first place in her group.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

After accounting for Chinese Taipei’s Cai Fong-En (11-7, 11-9, 12-10) and Germany’s Tu Wenna (11-6, 11-5, 11-1), she beat Russia’s Kristina Kasantseva, listed at no.27 on the current Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, the highest listed player on duty in the qualification phase. Notably Kaho Akae won in four games (11-3, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7).

Defeat for Kristina Kasantseva but it was her only reverse; second place was gained and thus progress to the main draw, for Cai Fong-En and Tu Wenna it was the end of the road.

A surprise first place by beating the highest rated player in the group; Kaho Akae was not alone.

The host nation’s Vony Ange Randriantsoa beat Germany’s Franziska Schreiner (11-6, 14-12, 11-5) to secure first place in her group. In a likewise manner, Portugal’s Celia Silva overcame Romania’s Tania Plaian (11-9, 11-8, 12-10), Germany’s Anastasia Bonderava defeated Russia’s Ekaterina Zironova (4-11, 12-10, 11-8, 12-10).

It was for Tania Plaian her only defeat, a situation that also applied to Ekaterina Zironova; alas for Franziska Schreiner, in addition she suffered at the hands of Japan’s Hikari Okubo (8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 12-10) and had to settle for third place in the groups. Hikari Okuba finished in runners up spot.

Similarly, contrary to status first places were secured by China’s Yang Yiyun and Sun Yizhen; a scenario that also applied to Germany’s Sarah Mantz, the Czech Republic’s Gabriela Stepanova and Prithika Pavade of France. All remained unbeaten, all accounted for the leading name in their respective groups.

Imposingly, Yang Yiyun beat Germany’s Laura Tiefenbruner (11-9, 11-8, 11-2), Sun Yizhen accounted for Russia’s Olga Vishniakova (8-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-3). Likewise, Sarah Mantz succeeded against Romania’s Andreea Hudusan (8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9), Gabriela Stepanova beat Isa Cok of France (11-8, 11-5, 11-7), whilst Prithika Pavade accounted for Belgium’s Natacha Koszulap (8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7).

Second place was the lot of those who suffered; the only exception being Andreea Hudusan who had to settle for third place. In addition she experienced defeat at the hands Berenice Marteau of France (13-11, 11-7, 11-5), who duly concluded matters in runners up spot and thus advanced to the main draw.

Unexpected first places; in fact amongst the top eight names on initial stage duty; only three emerged in first places in their respective groups. Chinese Taipei’s Wen Rue-Ling and Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yee alongside Japan’s Yukari Sugasawa avoided any mishaps.

World Junior Circuit 2018 French Junior & Cadet Open Kaho Akae

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