29 May 2018

A long journey but for the combination of the Czech Republic’s Zdena Balskova and Finland’s Annika Lundström, it was a successful start to proceedings at the 2018 Canadian Junior and Cadet Open in Markham on Monday 28th May.

They remained unbeaten to secure first position in their initial phase Junior Girls’ Team group and thus secured a place in the main draw.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Just one individual match was surrendered; that against the Canadian duo comprising Joyce Xu and Laura Lai.

After Zdena Blaskova had beaten Joyce Xu (17-19, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8), Annika Lundström suffered against Laura Lai by the very narrowest of margins (11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9). However, to her credit, following doubles success (11-8, 11-6, 11-8), Annika Lundström beat Joyce Xu to seal the victory (8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7).

It was to prove the only defeat of the day for the Canadians; thus second position and a place in the next phase of proceedings was secured. Teams finishing in first and second positions in each of the two groups advanced to the semi-finals.

Success for the top seeds but in the corresponding group it was defeat for the second seeds. The Canadian combination of Chen Yu-Hsan and Ivy Liao experienced a three-one reverse at the hand of China’s Lin Lequan and Li Yumeng.

Mainstay of the Chinese victory was Li Yumeng; she accounted for Chen Yu-Hsan (9-11, 11-2, 1-11, 11-8, 11-9), before partnering Lin Lequan to doubles success (9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-2) and then overcoming Ivy Liao to seal the victory (11-6, 11-13, 11-4, 11-9). The one win for the Canadians was recorded by Ivy Liao; in the opening match of the fixture she beat Lin Lequan (11-4, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4).

The Chinese duo ended the day unbeaten and thus reserved first place in the group; for the Canadians it was their only defeat, runners up spot and progress to the knock-out stage was their lot.

Play in the Junior Girls’ Team event concludes on Tuesday 29th May.

World Junior Circuit 2018 Canadian Junior & Cadet Open Zdena Blaskova Annika Lundström

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