by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The German ‘B’ Team outfit comprising Anastasia Bondareva, Tu Wenna and Jana Kirner extended the top seeded Hong Kong trio formed by Lee Ka Yee, Chau Wing Sze and Wong China Yau the full five match distance.
Mainstay of the Hong Kong victory was Lee Ka Yee, she remained unbeaten but in her opening match against Tu Wenna only succeeded by the minimal two point margin in the deciding fifth game (11-5, 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9); had that contest finished in the opposite direction, the outcome could well have been very different.
Later, after in the third match of the fixture when Wong Chin Yau had beaten Jana Kirner (11-5, 17-15, 11-5), Lee Ka Kee brought matters to a close by overcoming Anastasia Bondareva (8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9).
Likewise, it was a close three-two defeat for the German ‘A’ Team outfit of Franziska Schreiner, Laura Tiefenbrunner and Sarah Mantz against the fifth seeded Russian team who selected from Kristina Kazantseva, Ekaterina Zironova and Olga Vishniakova.
Furthermore, the Russians had to recover from a two matches to nil deficit after Olga Vishniakova had lost to Laura Tiefenbrunner (11-7, 11-7, 11-4) and Ekaterina Zironova had been beaten by Franziska Schreiner (11-9, 11-8, 11-13, 8-11, 12-10). Two matches to nil in arrears Kristina Kasantseva started the recovery; she overcame Sarah Mantz (11-9, 11-3, 11-5), before Ekaterina Zironova accounted for Laura Tiefenbrunner (11-1, 7-11, 11-8, 13-11) and Olga Vishniakova overcame Franziska Schreiner (9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8).
Close calls but the eventual outcome was that Hong Kong and Russia remained unbeaten and justified their seeded positions, as did the remaining three highly rated outfits in a competition that witnessed five groups in the initial phase.
China, the no.2 seeds, represented by Shi Xunyao, Zhang Binyue and Sun Yizhen duly topped their group without the loss of an individual match.
It was the same for Romania, the no.3 seeds, who fielded the trio comprising Andreea Dragoman, Tania Plaian and Andreea Hudusan; whilst for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Ting-Ting, Wen Rue-Ling and Cai Fong-En, the no.4 seeds, there were no great moments of alarm.
The Junior Girls’ Team event concludes on Saturday 28th April.