by Simon Daish
Starting the day with a perfect display to beat the event’s top-ranked player, Nomin Baasan of Sweden 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 12-10), Manjunath followed up with another class performance in the title decider. Playing out a much tighter contest, Manjunath stood firm in the face of pressure to see off Hungary’s Dorottya Tolgyes 3-2 in a remarkable final (11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-6).
“I’ve played at many international tournaments before, and I am lucky to have won this one. I feel great as this is my first international tournament in two and a half years. I want to play even better in the Under 19 Girls’ Singles. Hopefully, I can reach another final and win again,” said Anargya Manjunath
Zlata Terekhova emerged as Under 13 Girls’ Singles champion on day two. The highest-ranked entry in the draw, Russia’s Terekhova, endured two taxing encounters against German opposition as she successfully battled past Koharu Itagaki (9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7) and Lorena Morsch (11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-6).
“The semi-final and final were very difficult. The fifth games were incredibly emotional for me, and I’m very happy that I managed to win this title,” said Zlata Terekhova
Croatia’s Lana Benko proved a class above the playing field in the Under 11 Girls’ Singles event. Dropping just one game in the entire day to Portugal’s Caetana Soares (6-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-7), Benko negotiated the Serbian trio of Emili Miul, Teodora Sudzum and Nada Radojicic with ease to lock in her place at the top of the group.
“I’m very happy. This is my second WTT Youth Series event, so I gave my best. I was motivated and fought hard. In the crucial moments, I tried to relax, and it worked. I’m now looking forward to the next events,” said Lana Benko
Elsewhere, group stage action from the Under 19 Girls’ Singles threw up a surprise exit as Norway’s Martine Toftaker fell short to India’s Karruna Gajendran (4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8) and Sweden’s Nomin Baasan (11-3, 15-17, 11-4, 11-3). Meanwhile, Sara Radak outpowered Croatia’s Franka Miskic 3-0 (11-7, 12-10, 13-11) to secure Serbian representation in the Under 15 Girls’ Singles knock-out rounds.
Day three in Belgrade focuses on the closing stages of the Under 15 and Under 19 Girls’ Singles draws, with both events playing from the Round of 16 through to the final. Who will claim the two remaining Girls’ trophies on Wednesday?
For event details of WTT Youth Contender Belgrade, click here.