18 Sep 2018

Winner of the Junior Girls’ Singles title just over one week ago at the 2018 Europe Youth Top 10 in the northern Portuguese town of Vila Real, a tournament where she maintained a perfect record being unbeaten throughout; on Tuesday 18th September, once again Serbia’s Sabina Surjan demonstrated her liking for the Iberian Peninsula.

She caused the biggest upset as play commenced in the group qualification phase of the Women’s Singles event at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF European Championships in Alicante, Spain.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Most impressively, the 18 year old who is bound for next month’s Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, accounted for Romania’s Adina Diaconu, at no.118 on the current Women’s World Rankings, the highest rated player in the group. Presently, Sabina Surjan is named at no.470, her focus this year being very much on junior events; she occupies the no.4 spot on the Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings.

“Winning the Junior Girls’ Singles event at the Europe Top 10 in Portugal has helped boost my confidence. I was very relaxed and I even surprised myself with the victory over Adina.” Sabina Surjan

Success for Sabina Surjan and in the same group there was also success for Portugal’s Shao Jieni; the only player on duty in the qualification stage of the Women’s Singles event, who has an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles title to her name, she won in Nigeria in 2015 and in 2016.

She accounted for Slovenia’s Aleksandra Vovk in her opening contest (11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5). Adina Diaconu beaten, Sabina Surjan in form, it could prove a close call for first place. Only the winner in each of the 19 groups is guaranteed progress to the main draw; from the second placed players, seven “Lucky Losers” are drawn at random, the remaining 12 runners up compete in a preliminary round.

Impressive from Sabina Surjan; in the early matches in the qualification stage of the Women’s Singles event, it was the same from Austria’s Karoline Mischek; she accounted for Belgium’s Margo Degraef (11-7, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8).

“I did not expect that I would beat her in straight games. However, the result does not reflect the real situation, every game was very close. The match was harder than it looks. We had good preparation in Linz with the Romanian and Russian girls.” Karoline Mischek

Notable performances from visitors and there was one in particular from the host nation; Zhang Xuan beat Slovenia’s Anna Tofant (11-8, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3).

“I was so nervous. It is hard to play on the home soil. I did not expect I would win so easily but when I started to play everything worked fine, I felt good and I won.“ Zhang Xuan

The Women’s Singles qualification tournament concludes on Wednesday 19th September.

2018 Liebherr European Championships Sabina Surjan

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