01 Nov 2019

Inspired performances, the result, new names were added to the ITTF World Junior Circuit roll of honour on Thursday 31st October; a list that includes those who progressed to become Olympic Games and World champions.

Japan’s Seu Goto and England’s Charlotte Bardsley emerged the respective winners of the junior boys’ singles and junior girls’ singles titles at the Slovak Junior and Cadet Open in Nitra.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Quite incredibly, it was a very first appearance on the international scene for Seu Goto, a remarkable performance on debut; not only did he win the junior boys’ singles event, he partnered Kai Zarehbin to junior boys’ doubles gold.

At the final hurdle the pairing beat the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Kveton and Adam Stalzer (7-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7).

Seu Goto, a remarkable performance (Photo: Tomas Sereda)
Attracted greatest attention

However, it was in the junior boys’ singles where Seo Goto attracted the greatest attention. Not seeded, no world ranking, on the second day of play, after overcoming Poland’s Lucasz Sokolowski, the no.8 seed (15-13, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7), Seu Goto caused an even bigger upset at the quarter-final stage. He ousted the host nation’s Adam Klajber, the no.2 seed (11-8, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8, 10-12, 14-16, 11-5) to reserve his place in the semi-finals where the good form continued.

He ended the hopes of France. He beat Alexis Kouraichi, likewise not seeded (11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-2), prior to securing the title at the final expense of Thibault Bailliet, the no.12 seed (11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6).

“It was my first tournament in Europe. I did not know what to expect, I played the matches as they came. The most difficult was the quarter-final match against Klajber. It was tough match, I was lucky. It is a great success for me. I will remember this tournament in Nitra in a good way. I hope I will come back to Slovakia again” Seu Goto

In the opposite half of the draw, in the later rounds, Thibault Bailliet had beaten Canada’s Edward Ly, the no.4 seed (7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9), followed by success in opposition to colleague Hugo Deschamps (14-12, 11-8, 11-5, 13-11) and Italy’s Marco Cappuccio, the no.6 seed (9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5, 13-11).

Thibaut Bailliet the junior boys’ singles runner up (Photo: Tomas Sereda)
Status justified

Success against the odds for Seu Goto; following the demise of Norway’s Martine Toftaker, the top seed, in the group stage one day earlier, for Charlotte Bardsley in the junior girls’ singles competition it was success as anticipated. She commenced play the no.2 seed.

Never extended the full seven games distance she beat Poland’s Julia Tomecka, the no.26 seed (11-9, 11-5, 12-10, 11-7) followed by Italy’s Miriam Carnovale (11-3, 11-6, 11-7, 11-2) to reserve her place in the semi-finals.

Imposing performances, the 17 year old seized the title in some style. After overcoming a testing adversary in the guise of Charlotte Lutz of France, the no.5 seed (10-12, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7), she overcame Slovakia’s Zuzanna Pekova, the no.7 seed, in straight games (11-9, 11-8, 4-11, 15-13, 11-7) to reserve the top step of the podium.

Charlotte Lutz gave Charlotte Bardsley a severe test (Photo: Frantisek Zakewsky)
Medals for Slovakia

A most notable effort from Charlotte Bardsley, equally Zuzana Pekova had excelled on her journey to the final. In her opening main draw contest she beat the Czech Republic’s Jana Vasendova, the no.6 seed (12-10, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8), prior to ending the hopes of Sofia Ray of France (9-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6) and Poland’s Natalia Szymczyk, the no.11 seed (11-9, 11-8, 4-11, 15-13, 11-7).

“It was a really difficult tournament for me. I played series of tough matches. After a smooth victory over Czech girl Vasendova, the match with France player Ray was a hard fight. I was losing 0-2 but I managed to change my play to win 4-3. In the semi-finals I managed to win over Polish player Szymczyk 4-1 without difficulty. Only in the final I played an opponent who was too strong, theEnglish girl Bardsley.” Zuzana Pekova

Silver for the host nation in the junior girls’ singles event; in the junior girls’ doubles it was gold. Ema Cincurova and Dominika Wiltschkova secured the title at the expense of the Czech Republic’s Klara Hrabicova and Jana Vasendova (11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 8-11, 11-7).

“It is a huge success for us; it is the biggest result we have together ever achieved. We have only played together for a short time, since the beginning of this season, we get on well and we complement each other. It was really demanding, but we are happy we won. We appreciate the victory.” Ema Cincurova

“We started quite well in the final. The score was 2-0; however we made errors. Our opponents fought. In the fifth game we led 9-3; the Czech girls managed to recover to 9-6. Our coach took a “time-out” and we finished the match. It is our greatest success in the short time of playing together.” Dominika Wiltschkova

The podium in the junior girls’ doubles event (Photo: Frantisek Zalewsky)


Attention now turns to the team events, play concludes in Nitra on Sunday 3rd November.

World Junior Circuit 2019 Slovakia Junior & Cadet Open Charlotte Bardsley eu Goto

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Day 5 - 2019 ITTF Slovak J&C Open