by Simon Daish
Charlotte Lutz, 16, sent out a loud statement in the opening stages of the Under 19 Girls’ Singles event. The young French star came away victorious from each of her three group fixtures, including a 3-0 upset against world number four Elizabet Abraamian of Russia (11-9, 11-6, 11-9).
“I’m really happy about my performance in the group stage in the singles because although I didn’t start well, I managed a good game against Elizabet Abraamian. Tomorrow I have a match against another French player, Lucie Mobarek. It’s a bit disappointing because we normally play in French competitions, but I’m focused on winning. It’s an advantage for both of us, as we know each other’s game well. I’m really happy for the restart of competitions as we didn’t have these international tournaments for some time,” said Lutz
Fresh from her Under 19 success at WTT Youth Contender Tunis, Swastika Ghosh hoped to light up the Lisbon stage in a similar fashion. However, unexpected defeats to France’ Lucie Mobarek (11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 4-11, 13-11) and Germany’s Anastasia Bondareva (11-6, 13-11, 11-7) saw the Indian competitor’s campaign draw to a halt far earlier than initially anticipated.
Considered the key contenders in the title race, Russia’s Vlada Voronina and Egypt’s Hana Goda breezed through to the knock-out draw without dropping a game between them.
After her withdrawal from the event, Russia’s Anastasiia Ivanova was the highest-ranked casualty in the Under 15 Girls’ Singles group stage. As a result, Germany’s Josephina Neumann topped the group after prevailing in her meeting with Portugal’s Ines Fernandes (11-4, 13-11, 11-5), who finished second.
Elsewhere, the news wasn’t so favourable for the host nation with seven group eliminations. Matilde Pinto’s exit proved the most significant shock as she lost out to France’s Elise Pujol (11-9, 11-6, 12-10) and 12-year-old Russian talent Zlata Terekhova (11-5, 11-3, 11-13, 11-9). Like her compatriot Neumann, Germany’s Mia Griesel also emerged as a group winner following positive outings against Spain’s Maria Berzosa Casas (10-12, 12-10, 11-8, 11-5) and Portugal’s Mariana Santa Comba (11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9).
“My day was pretty good. The first matches were quite difficult, but I managed to get better and better. In the Under 15s, I’m hoping to win a medal. The Under 19 main draw will be very difficult as I’ll play against a fellow German player, Anastasia Bondareva. We know each other well, but she has more pressure to win, so maybe I can take advantage of that,” said Griesel
Impressing on the singles front, Anastasia Bondareva also remains in the Under 19 Girls’ Doubles race after combining with Sophia Klee to see off India’s Suhana Saini and Diya Parag Chitale in a nail-biting quarter-final (8-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8).
There was another five-game thriller in the Under 15 Girls’ Doubles quarter-finals. The French pair of Gaetane Bled and Leana Hochart recovered from two games down to prevail 3-2 in a breathtaking match against German opponents Jele Stortz and Mia Griesel (2-11, 10-12, 11-6, 12-10, 13-11).
Day two in Lisbon promises to be just as dramatic as the first with the closing chapter of the Girls’ events set to unfold.
Egypt’s Hana Goda features in the opening session of the day as she looks to make her intentions known in the Under 15 Girls’ Singles round of 16 from 9.30 local time. Then, from 10.40, Russia’s Vlada Voronina faces off against India’s in form Suhana Saini at the top of the Under 19 Girls’ Singles draw, with quarter-final and semi-final action to follow later in the day. Four finals round off Sunday’s programme with the Under 15 Girls’ Doubles, scheduled from 18.00, preceding the Under 19 Girls’ Doubles, Under 15 Girls’ Singles and Under 19 Girls’ Singles finals.
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