14 Sep 2018

Winner earlier in the year in May, on her one and only previous appearance on this year’s 2018 ITTF World Junior Circuit, when emerging successful in Spain; on Thursday 13th September China’s Zuo Yue repeated the feat in Varazdin.

The 17 year old reserved the top step of the Junior Girls’ Singles podium at the 2018 Croatia Junior and Cadet Open to not only collect her second such career title, also her second of the day. Earlier, in partnership with colleague Li Ruonan, the duo had secured Junior Girls’ Doubles gold; not bad for a player presently listed at no.200 on the Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

At the final hurdle Zuo Yue accounted for compatriot, Li Yake, a player with no current global status, a closely contested seven games win being the order of proceedings (7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 5-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-8).

A hard fought success, en route to the final on the second day of action in Varazdin, life had been much less torturous. In her opening contest she had beaten Germany’s Anastasia Bondareva, the no.19 seed (11-6, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8), prior to accounting for Poland’s Anna Wegrzyn, the no.3 seed (11-7, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6). Imposing performances, the level was maintained. She ended the hopes of Russia’s Elizabet Abraamian, the no.31 seed (11-1, 12-10, 11-4, 11-7) to reserve her place in the penultimate round where she confronted a player in form.

She faced Prithika Pavade of France, the no.20 seed, the young lady who in the quarter-final round had beaten Chinese Taipei’s Chen Ting Ting, the top seed ( 9-11, 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 14-12, 10-12, 11-5) and with colleague Camille Lutz, the no.15 seeds, had less than one hour earlier booked her place in the final of the Junior Girls’ Doubles event. Determined, the duo had recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Poland’s Anna Wegrzyn and Katarzyna Wegrzyn, the no.2 seeds (10-12, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-9)

Facing Zuo Yue, it was a different scenario, both at the semi-final stage of the Junior Girls’ Singles event and in the ensuing Junior Girls’ Doubles final. A five games win was recorded by Zuo Yue to reserve a place in the Junior Girls’ Singles title decider (8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6, 12-10), before in straight games the Junior Girls’ Doubles title was secured (11-6, 11-3, 11-8). In the counterpart Junior Girls’ Doubles semi-final, Li Ruonan and Zuo Yue had overcome the top seeded Chinese Taipei duo of Cai Fong-En and Chen Ting-Ting (11-8, 11-7, 13-11).

Impressive from Zuo Yue, it had been the same from Li Yake in the opposite half of the draw. She had started the day by overcoming Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut, the no.4 seed (6-11, 18-16, 11-3, 11-3), prior to ousting Leili Mostafavi of France, the no.9 seed (11-7, 11-4, 11-2, 12-10) and the host nation’s Andrea Pavlovic, the no.6 seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7), to reserve her semi-final place.

Imposing in the early rounds, it was good form in the later rounds; she reserved her place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to colleague Kuai Man (12-14, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7). Notably Kuai Man had ended the progress of Egypt’s Marwa Alhodaby, the no.2 seed, in the second round (11-6, 13-11, 11-8, 12-10).

The Junior Girls’ Singles and Junior Girls’ Doubles events completed, attention now turns to the Junior Girls’ Team and Cadet Girls’ Team competitions; play concludes on Sunday 16th September.

World Junior Circuit 2018 Croatia Junior & Cadet Open Zuo Yue

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