by Simon Daish
Azerbaijan had the difficult task of taking on a very impressive French team in the last four but it was a challenge which was risen to – Ning Jing struck first with a fine display against Leili Mostafavi (4-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-3) to fire Azerbaijan into an early lead. The advantage was doubled soon after through Chen Xingtai, who saw off Lucie Gauthier by three games to one (11-13, 11-7, 12-10, 11-9).
Isa Cok put France on the scoreboard in the third fixture with a tight five games win against Zhou Chuyi (11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5) but it was to no avail as Ning Jing held off Lucie Gauthier (12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10) to move Azerbaijan to within a win from its first Junior Girls’ Team gold medal at the tournament.
Russia will have the opportunity to defend its title after inflicting heartbreak upon hosts Romania in the lower half of the semi-finals draw.
Early victories from Anastasia Kolish and Mariia Tailakova put Russia in a commanding position, beating Andreea Dragoman (8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7) and Tania Plaian respectively (11-9, 11-5, 13-11) before Kristina Kazantseva put the result beyond any doubt with a four games win over Andreea Hudusan (8-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6).