21 Sep 2018

Destined for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, now just over two weeks distant, Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut won the Junior Girls’ Singles event at the Serbia Junior and Cadet Open in Belgrade on Thursday 20th September.

Success and a watershed moment in her career; much travelled, having earlier in the year been the runner up in Oman, it is her first such ITTF World Junior Circuit title.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

However, the top step of the podium was not reserved without moments of trepidation.

Having on the second day of action beaten Sweden’s Jennie Edvinsson, the no.19 seed (11-5, 11-6, 13-11, 11-5) and Serbia’s Andjela Menger, the no.10 seed (7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 16-14, 11-3); at the semi-final stage Jinnipa Sawettabut almost departed proceedings. She was extended the full seven games distance by Slovakia’s Emma Labosova, the no.6 seed, only emerging successful by the very narrowest of margins in the deciding game (11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-9, 14-12).

Notably, Emma Labosova was very much a player in form; one round earlier she had ended the progress of Singapore’s Eunice Lim, the no.13 seed (10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5), the second round winner in opposition to India’s Swastika Ghosh, the no.3 seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5).

A place in the final booked; in a hard fought contest but less dramatic than the semi-final, Jinnipa Sawettabut accounted for Romania’s Tania Plaian, the no.2 seed (9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8).

Earlier in the main draw, Tania Plaian had ended the hopes of India. She accounted for Diya Parag Chitale, 4-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 16-14), prior to overcoming Lakshita Narang (11-4, 4-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2). The wins booked a place in the penultimate round where she overcame Singapore’s Goi Rui Xuan, the no.4 seed (10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-5).

Success for Jinnipa Sawettabut and there was more success; partnering Eunice Lim, the Junior Girls’ Doubles title was secured. At the final hurdle the duo overcame India’s Radhapriya Goel and Anusha Kutumbale, a contest that ebbed and flowed, the eventual decision being by the very narrowest of margins (10-12, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5).

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 in Belgrade on Sunday 23rd September.

World Junior Circuit 2018 Serbia Junior & Cadet Open Jinnipa Sawettabut

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