by Ian Marshall, Editor
The leading name and winner in 2019 in Canada, Anna Wegrzyn very much carries the hopes of the host nation; however, the player to note is Russia’s Kristina Kazantseva. She is the one name to have secured an ITTF World Junior Circuit girls’ singles title this year; she won in February in Bahrain.
In Wladyslawowo, Kristina Kazantseva is the no.3 seed, one place behind the Czech Republic’s Zdena Blaskova, who like Anna Wegrzyn has this year proved most competitive but has not been able to secure a place in the title deciding contest. Both impressed in the Czech Republic, most notably Zdena Blaskova progressed to the semi-finals, Anna Wegrzyn to the quarter-finals, a round she also reached in Italy.
Next in the order of merit is Romania’s Tania Plaian followed by the host nation’s Katarzyna Wegrzyn and Germany’s Franziska Schreiner; all most worthy competitors but this year have yet to really shine. Rather differently, Japan’s Sakura Yokoi and Italy’s Gaia Monfardini, the players who complete the top eight names, have attracted the attention.
Competing on home soil Gaia Monfardini reached the quarter-finals in Italy, Sukura Yokoi, who is very much a name to follow, was the runner up in Sweden. Additionally in Sweden, she was the cadet girls’ singles silver medallist, an event in which this year she has excelled; she was a semi-finalist in the Czech Republic, more significantly, she won in France.
At the 2019 Polish Junior and Cadet Open she is the no.3 seed behind two reigning continental champions. Romania’s Elena Zaharia, the winner on home turf last year in Cluj Napoca at the European Youth Championships, is the top seed; she is followed by Brazil’s Giulia Takahashi, crowned Latin American champion in 2018 in San José, Costa Rica.
Play commences in Wladyslawowo with the junior girls’ singles and junior girls’ doubles events, the champions being crowned on Thursday 23rd May.