20 Sep 2018

Present in numbers at the 2018 Serbia Junior and Cadet Open in Belgrade, India emerged the dominant force on Wednesday 19th September in the initial phase of Junior Girls’ Singles event.

A total of 15 groups, no less than seven of their young players remained unbeaten to reserve first places.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The top spots gained by Swastika Ghosh, Prapti Sen and Diya Parag Chitale were as anticipated; they commenced matters as the leading names in their respective groups.

However, the first places gained by their colleagues were very much contrary to expectations; pride of place going to Lakishta Narang, a player with no current world ranking and thus the lowest rated in her group. Unbeaten, she finished ahead of Slovakia’s Jana Terezkova, Belgium’s Lindsay de Vos and Bulgaria’s Ivet Ilieva, the no.8 seed.

Meanwhile, somewhat less dramatically Anargya Manjunath beat Singapore’s Wong Xin Ru, the no.9 seed (11-7, 3-11, 11-8, 11-8) to secure first place in her group; an achievement that was matched by both Anusha Kutumbale and Radhapriya Goel. Anusha Kutumbale accounted for Serbia’s Andjela Menger, the no.10 seed (11-3, 11-9, 12-14, 13-11), Radhapriya Goel defeated Spain’s Andrea Perez, the no.15 seed (11-4, 11-5, 11-7).

Defeats for Wong Xin Ru, Andjela Menger and Andrea Perez but it was their only defeats; thus second places and progress to the main draw were secured.

Surprise first places and there was one more; Russia’s Ksenia Khurtsilava, like Lakishta Narang a player with no world ranking and the lowest rated in her group, finished ahead of Sweden’s Jennie Edvinsson and Serbia’s Katarina Banja. Montenegro’s Ivona Petric, the no.12 seed, concluded matters in fourth place.

Overall, five unexpected first places but not amongst the very elite names; in addition to Swastika Ghosh, the no.3 seed, Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut, the top seed, Romania’s Tania Plaian, the no.2 seed and Singapore’s Goi Rui Xuan, the no.4 seed, all remained unbeaten to reserve first places in their respective groups.

Medals for India in the Junior Girls’ Singles event are more than a realistic possibility; in the Junior Girls’ Doubles competition, podium places are assured. Radhapriya Goel and Anusha Kutumbale booked their place in the final courtesy of success against Tania Plaian and colleague Andreea Hudusan (11-9, 11-8, 11-6). In the title decider they meet Jinnipa Sawettabut and Singapore’s Eunice Lim, the penultimate round winners in opposition to Diya Parag Chitale and Swastika Ghosh (11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6).

The Junior Girls’ Singles event will be played to a conclusion on Thursday 20th September as will be the Junior Girls’ Doubles final.

World Junior Circuit 2018 Serbia Junior & Cadet Open Lakishta Narang

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