10 Mar 2019

Disappointment for Russia on the second day of play in the women’s singles event at the Butterfly Under 21 European Championships in Gondomar, Portugal; defeats for Valeria Shcherbatykh, the top seed and Mariia Tailakova, the no.3 seed meant an earlier than anticipated exit.

One day later on Saturday 9th March, it was much better news.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Maria Malanina flew the flag as surprise followed surprise; not one of the eight seeded players who had received a direct entry to the second group phase reserved a semi-final place.

One of the principal causes of the mayhem was Maria Malanina. She beat both Daria Trigolos of Belarus, the no.6 seed (11-5, 12-10, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5) and Belgium’s Lisa Lung, the no.2 seed (11-6, 11-4, 11-7, 11-3) to reserve her place in the semi-finals.

Success for Russia, for Romania it was differing fortunes but the balance was in favour of the positive. Adina Diaconu and Tania Plaian progressed to the penultimate round but there was a quarter-final defeat for colleague Andreea Dragoman, all three having being required to compete in the initial group phase.

Tania Plaian after beating Sweden’s Christina Källberg (11-6, 11-2, 10-12, 11-8), accounted for Audrey Zarif of France, the no.4 seed, by the very narrowest of margins (2-11, 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 8-11, 13-11) to guarantee a place on the podium. Similarly, Adina Diaconu, following success against Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova, the no.8 seed, ended the hopes of Oceane Guisnel of France (11-6, 11-9, 16-14. 11-6).

Meanwhile, after upsetting the order of merit by beating Marie Migot, the no.5 seed and like Oceane Guisnel from France (11-6, 11-9, 16-14, 11-6), Andreea Dragoman experienced defeat at the hands of Nadezhda Bogdanova of Belarus (11-5, 3-11, 11-6, 11-5, 6-11, 13-11).

At the semi-final stage Maria Malanina meets Tania Plaian, Nadezhda Bogdanova opposes Adina Diaconu; play concludes in Gondomar on Sunday 10th March.

2019 Butterfly Europe Under 21 Championships Maria Malanina

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