07 Mar 2020

Places in the main draw of the men’s and women’s singles events at the 2020 European Under 21 Championships decided, as the second stage of play came to a conclusion on Friday 6th March, the competition was intense; Varazdin was not a city for the faint of heart.

Eight groups in each discipline, first and second positions secured progress to the knock-out rounds, for the third and fourth it was journey’s end.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In the men’s singles, the names to note in particular were those of Frenchman Bastien Rembert and Irvin Bertrand, alongside Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica, Hungary’s Csaba Andras, Russia’s Lev Katsman and Ioannis Sgouropoulos from Greece.

All ended the second phase of play unbeaten but of the top eight seeds the only member of that group to remain unscathed was Bastien Rembert, the no.2 seed; the other names had all competed in the initial phase of play.

Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko, the top seed, Romania’s Rares Sipos, the no.3 seed and Frenchman Jules Rolland, the no.4 seed, all had to settle for second positions. Likewise, it was the same outcome for the Belgium duo of Florian Cnudde and Laurens Devos, the next in the order of merit, runners up spot was their lot.

Leo de Nodrest emerged one of four Frenchmen to reach the main draw (Photo: Martin Novosel)


Notably, Vladimir Sidorenko finished behind Leo de Nodrest; thus no less than four French players gained main draw places. A surprise first place for Leo de Nodrest, who had started proceedings the lowest rated in his second stage group, it was a position Serbia’s Dimitrije Levajac also held. He ended the day in second spot behind Bastien Rembert.

Unexpected second positions but they live to fight another day. Alas for Russia’s Denis Ivonin, the no.7 seed and Romania’s Cristian Pletea, the no.8 seed, it is the end of the line; third position was their lot. Denis Ivonin finished behind Ioannis Sgouropoulos and Germany’s Meng Fanbo; Cristian Pletea next in line to Gerritt Engemann, also from Germany and Russia’s Artur Abusev.

Men’s singles: main draw and quarter-finals to be played on Saturday 7th March

  • Leo de Nodrest (France) v Dimitrije Levajac (Serbia)
  • Laurens Devos (Belgium) v Gerritt Engemann (Germany)
  • Irvin Bertrand (France) v Meng Fanbo (Germany)
  • Rares Sipos (Romania) v Csaba Andras (Hungary)
  • Andrei Putuntica (Moldova) v Jules Rolland (France)
  • Florian Cnudde (Belgium) v Lev Katsman (Russia)
  • Ioannis Sgouropoulos (Greece) v Vladimir Sidorenko (Russia)
  • Artur Abusev (Russia) v Bastien Rembert (France)


Yuki Tsutsui biggest surprise name

Surprise outcomes, it was the same in the women’s singles but to a lesser extent. The biggest surprise was the first group place secured by Germany’s Yuki Tsutsui; she started play the lowest rated in her group, she ended matters unbeaten, first place ahead of Slovenia’s Ana Tofant, the no.7 seed, was the outcome

Runners up spot for Ana Tofant, an unexpected outcome; it was the same for Russia’s Mariia Tailakova, the no.3 seed, she finished next on the list to Prithika Pavade of France. Not the outcome anticipated, it was the end result that applied also to Belgium’s Lisa Lung, the no.4 seed. She ended matters second in the order of merit to Sweden’s Christina Källberg.

Likewise, it was second place for Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova, the no.5 seed, behind Croatia’s Andrea Pavlovic, as it was for Russia’s Anastasia Kolish, the no.6 seed, she concluded matters next in line to Germany’s Sophia Klee.

First group place for Sophia Klee (Photo: Martin Novosel)


Unexpected first places, it was a somewhat surprise first and second positions for Poland’s Anna Wegrzyn and Camille Lutz of France; Spain’s Anna Garcia, the no.8 seed, not experiencing the best of days, she finished in fourth place behind Turkey’s Ece Harac.

A notable name to depart in the guise of Ana Garcia but no surprise exits amongst the leading protagonists. Romania’s Andreea Dragoman and Adina Diaconu, the respective top two seeds, duly remained unbeaten to reserve first positions. Also second positions were as anticipated. Ukraine’s Solomiya Brateyko finished in runners up spot behind Andreea Dragoman, Russia’s Olga Vishniakova next in the order of merit to Adina Diaconu.

Women’s singles: main draw and quarter-finals to be played on Saturday 7th March

  • Andreea Dragoman (Romania) v Olga Vishniakova (Russia)
  • Camille Lutz (France) v Andrea Pavlovic (Croatia)
  • Sophia Klee (Germany) v Ana Tofant (Slovenia)
  • Mariia Tailakova (Russia) v Christina Källberg (Sweden)
  • Prithika Pavade (France) v Solomiya Brateyko (Ukraine)
  • Tatiana Kukulkova (Slovakia) v Yuki Tsutsui (Japan)
  • Ana Wegrzyn (Poland) v Lisa Lung (Belgium)
  • Anastasia Kolish (Russia) v Adina Diaconu (Romania)


Semi-finalists known

The main draw in the men’s and women’s singles events known, in the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles the semi-finalists are realised.

In the men’s doubles, Belgium’s Florian Cnudde and Laurens Devos progressed to the penultimate round as did Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Rares Sipos, the no.3 seeds. However, the appearance of Frenchmen Irvin Bertrand and Leo de Nodrest, the no.6 seeds, alongside the combination of Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica and the Czech Republic’s Jiri Martinko, the no.9 seeds, was not to be anticipated.

Impressively, Irvin Bertrand and Leo de Nodrest posted a third round win against Russia’s Denis Ivonin and Vladimir Sidorenko, the top seeds (11-6, 11-6, 11-9); Andrei Putuntica and Jiri Martinko, after ousting Frenchmen Bastien Rembert and Jules Rolland, the top seeds, in the opening round (11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10), secured their place but only just.

A close call for Andrei Putuntica and Jiri Martinko but a semi-final place booked (Photo: Martin Novosel)


In the third round, they recovered from a two games to nil deficit and the brink of defeat in the fourth to overcome the partnership formed by Hungary’s Csaba Andras and Germany’s Cedric Meissner (5-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-5).

Men’s doubles: semi-finals to be played on Saturday 7th March

  • Irvin Bertrand / Leo de Nodrest (France) v Cristian Pletea / Rares Sipos (Romania)
  • Florian Cnudde / Laurens Devos (Belgium) v Andrei Putuntica / Jiri Martinko (Moldova / Czech Republic


Lesser extent

Unexpected semi-finalists, it was the same in the women’s doubles but to a lesser extent.

The French pairing of Nolwenn Fort and Leili Mostafavi provided the surprise. The no.6 seeds, in the third round they ousted the partnership formed by Hungary’s Orsolya Feher and Croatia’s Marta Vukelic, the second round winners against the pairing of Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova and Belgium’s Lisa Lung, the no.2 seed (5-11, 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8).

Nolwenn Fort (nearest camera) and Leili Mostafavi emerged surprise semi-finalists  (Photo: Martin Novosel)


Problems for one noteworthy pair, for Romania’s Andreea Dragoman and Adina Diaconu, the top seeds, a semi-final place was booked. Notably it was the same for Russia’s Mariia Tailakova and Kristina Kazantseva, the no.3 seeds, as it was for Anna Wegrzyn and Katarzyna Wegrzyn, the no.4 seeds.

Women’s doubles: semi-finals to be played on Saturday 7th March

  • Adina Diaconu / Andreea Dragoman (Romania) v Mariia Tailakova / Kristina Kazantseva (Russia)
  • Anna Wegrzyn / Katarzyna Wegrzyn (Poland) v Nolwenn Fort / Leili Mostafavi (France)


Top seeds fall

Progress for Mariia Tailakova but not in the mixed doubles, partnering Vladimir Sidorenko, the top seeds, a third round defeat was experienced at the hands of the French pairing formed by Irvin Bertrand and Leili Mostafavi, the no.9 seeds (11-5, 7-11, 14-12, 11-7).

Good news for France, there was further good news, Bastien Rembert and Nolwenn Fort duly booked a penultimate round place contrary to predictions. In the third round they ousted Turkey’s Abdullah Yingeler and Ozge Yilmaz (11-9, 11-9, 11-9), the shock second round winners in opposition to Romania’s Rares Sipos and Andreea Dragoman, the no.2 seeds (5-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-9).

Cristian Pletea (left) and (right) Adina Diaconu through to the mixed doubles semi-finals as anticipated (Photo: Martin Novosel)


Semi-finalists against the odds, for their semi-final opponents it was as anticipated. Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu, the no.3 seeds, progressed as did Belgium’s Laurens Devos and Lisa Lung, the no.4 seeds.

Mixed doubles: semi-finals to be played on Saturday 7th March

  • Irvin Bertrand / Leili Mostafavi (France) v Cristian Pletea / Adina Diaconu (Romania)
  • Laurens Devos / Lisa Lung (Belgium) v Bastien Rembert / Nolwenn Fort (France)


First title decided

At the close of play on Saturday 7th March, the winners of the mixed doubles event will be known, in addition to the men’s and women’s doubles finalists, the men’s and women’s singles semi-finalists.

2020 European Under 21 Championships Ioannis Sgouropoulos

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