23 Jul 2021

Disappointment after a narrow defeat in the final of the junior boys’ team event when facing Poland at the Gazprom 2021 European Youth Championships in Varazdin, the following day, Thursday 22nd July, France responded.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Alexis Lebrun, the no.21 seed and Alexis Kourachi, the no.31 seed, progressed to the third round of the junior boys’ singles event as their status suggested. Conversely, colleague Thibault Poret performed the recovery of the day to cause a major upset – in the second round he fought back from a three games to nil deficit to beat Belgium’s Nicolas Degros, the no.14 seed (5-11, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7).

Similarly, there was a second round defeat for Slovakia’s Filip Delincak, the no.12 seed, who was beaten by Portugal’s Tiago Li (11-5, 13-11, 4-11, 10-12, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9).

Problems for notable names, there were no such traumas for the very elite. Germany’s Kay Stumper, Belgium’s Adrien Rassenfosse, Croatia’s Ivor Ban and Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki all progressed.

Success together

Success for France apart, there was also success together; in the junior boys’ doubles Alexis Lebrun and Thibault Poret, alongside Alexis Kourachi and Benjamin Fruchart, upset the order of merit.

Alexis Lebrun and Thibault Poret accounted for Russia’s Damir Akhmetsafin and Maksim Bokov, the no.7 seeds (11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9). One round earlier Alexis Kourachi and Benjamin Fruchart ousted the combination of Norway’s Borna Haug and Ireland’s Owen Cathcart, the no.6 seeds (11-8, 6-11, 13-11, 5-11, 12-10), Later they accounted for Israel’s Tal Israeli and the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Kveton (11-7, 11-5, 13-11) to reach the quarter-finals.

The leading pairs, Germany’s Kay Stumper and Daniel Rinderer, the top seeds, duly advanced as did the next in line. Croatia’s Ivor Ban and Hungary’s Csaba Andras progressed, a situation that also applied to  Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki and Maciej Kubik. Likewise, there was a last eight place for Romania’s Darius Movileanu and Eduard Ionescu.

Once again Alexis Lebrun

Alexis Lebrun, Christophe Legout’s nephew, proved successful against the odds when partnering Thibault Poret, it was the same for Leburn in the mixed doubles. Joining forces with Camille Lutz, the duo booked a semi-final place following their victory in opposition to Germany’s Kay Stumper and Anastasia Bondareva, the top seeds (11-6, 11-6, 11-6).

Defeat for the top seeds, one round earlier, the partnership formed by Hungary’s Csaba Andras and Italy’s Jamila Laurenti, the no.3 seeds, departed. They lost to the combination of Norway’s Borgar Haug and Sweden’s Matilda Hansson (11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3); alas, for the Nordic duo, the euphoria was short-lived. At the quarter-final stage they were beaten by Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki and Anna Brzyska (11-2, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9).

Lucie Mobarek upsets seeding

Outstanding results for the French boys, the girls were not to be outdone. Notably, Lucie Mobarek caused the biggest girls’ singles upset of the day. In round two, she ousted Hungary’s Helga Dari, the no.11 seed (11-5, 13-11, 4-11, 10-12, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9).

Similarly in the second round, Germany’s Anastasia Bondareva, the no.14 seed, was beaten by the Czech Republic’s Klara Hrabicova (11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9); Serbia’s Reka Bezeg, the no.15 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of Hungary’s Irisz Laskai (6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 14-12, 11-3).

Meanwhile, for the leading girls, there were no such heartaches. Romania’s Elena Zaharia, Isa Cok like Lucie Mobarek from France, in addition, Italy’s Jamila Laurenti and Russia’s Elizabet Abraamian all booked third round places.

Leading pairs fall

Surprise outcomes but nothing matched the scenes from the junior girls’ doubles with the top four seeded pairs all failing to reach the quarter-finals.

The combination of Bulgaria’s Elena Ilieva and Poland’s Sztwiertnia, recorded a stunning win against the top seeded pairing of Romania’s Elena Zaharia and Lithuania’s Kornelija Riliskyte. Their form was duly maintained, they beat England’s Charlotte Bardsley and Mari Baldwin (11-7, 11-7, 11-9).

A third round exit for the top seeds, it was the same for Italy’s Jamila Laurenti and Hungary’s Darya Kisel, the no.4 seeds; they experienced defeat at the hands of the combination formed by Germany’s Naomi Pranjkovic and Moldova’s Camelia Merenco (7-11, 14-12, 11-5, 11-9). Similar to Elena Ilieva and Ilona Sztwiertina, they reached the quarter-finals. In round four they beat Sweden’s Nomin Baasin and Hannah Holgersson (11-7, 11-4, 15-13).

For Turkey’s Ozge Yilmaz and Ece Harac, the no.3 seeds, it was farewell in round two. They were beaten by Hungary’s Anna Volentics and Irisz Laskai (11-7, 15-13, 11-7). Impressively Anna Volentics and Irisz Laskai continued their good form; they accounted for Ulyana Alhouskaya and Karyna Padrazhanets of Belarus (3-11, 13-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4), followed by success against Italy’s Arianna Barani and Valentina Roncallo (9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 14-12).

Early round defeats and there was a surprise reverse for France; in round four, Isa Cok and Camille Lutz, the no.2 seeds, lost to the pairing formed by Romania’s Ioana Singeorzan and Malamatenia Papadimitriou of Greece (11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9).

Play concludes in Varazdin on Saturday 24th July.

Gazprom 2021 European Youth Championships results

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