by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Likewise it was first place for the Russia, the no.2 seeds, represented by Kristina Kazantseva, Anastasia Kolish and Ekaterna Zironova, as it was for the next in the pecking order the Romanian combination of Andreea Dragoman, Andreea Hudusan and Tania Plaian.
Similarly, it was pole position for the no.4 seeds, the Chinese Taipei trio comprising Cai Fong-En, Chen Ting-Ting and Wen Rue-Ling. Meanwhile for the host nation it was also a day of success; the no.6 seeds, it was top of the order for Julia Szymczak, Anna Wegrzyn and Katarzyna Wegrzyn
However, in a competition where only first place in the group secured progress to the main draw, the country to attract the attention was Japan.
Japan ‘A’ with Honami Nakamori, Yukari Sugasawa and Hikari Okubo on duty recorded a three-nil win against the Czech Republic trio of Zdena Blaskova, Anezka Ilcikova and Gabriela Stepanova, the no.7 seeds, to remain unbeaten and top their group.
However, pride of place went to the Japan ‘B’ Team comprising Sakura Yokoi, Kaho Akae and Yua Yamasaki; the third highest listed outfit in their group, they excelled all expectations.
They accounted for Germany’s Franziska Schreiner, Laura Tifenbrunner and Yuki Tsutsui by three matches to one prior to recording a three-two success in opposition to the no.5 seeds, the French line up comprising Lucie Gauthier, Camille Lutz and Leili Mostafavi.
Star of the show against France was Koho Akae who twice recovered from two games to nil in arrears to emerge successful. She beat Leili Mostafavi in the second match of the fixture in five games (9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 14-12, 11-9), before repeating the feat in the fourth by overcoming Lucie Gauthier (5-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6). The wins set the scene for Yua Yamasaki to be the heroine¸ she duly responded, in the vital fifth match of the engagement she accounted for Leili Mostafavi in three straight games (11-7, 11-8, 11-9).
Play in the Junior Girls’ Team event concludes on Saturday 26th May.