23 Oct 2021

Italy’s Nicole Arlia pulled off one of the upsets of the day as play resumed at WTT Youth Star Contender Wladyslawowo 2021 with the start of the Girls’ events on Friday 22nd October.

by Simon Daish

Placed in group two out of eight, Arlia’s first target was to secure a ticket to the knock-out stages of the Under-19 Girls’ Singles, and she flew out of the starting blocks with a stunning result. World ranked 86th in the age bracket, Arlia produced an astonishing display to stun world number two Vlada Voronina of Russia 3-0 (15-13, 11-6, 11-6). Arlia then fought back from a game down to beat Germany’s Mia Griesel 3-1 (4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 12-10) as she ended the day as a group runner-up.

“I played really well today. I did not play at my highest level in the match against Wikroia Wrobel, but I didn’t play bad either. I have a difficult time playing against opponents like her. She was everywhere, and she played really well. In the last game, I played better, but I know that I can do much more,” said Nicole Arlia

Another player who stood out for her effort was Singapore’s Zhou Jingyi, who came out on top in group six. Zhou’s first win was undoubtedly her most impressive as she toppled group favourite Naomi Pranjkovic of Germany 3-1 (12-10, 14-12, 11-13, 11-7). Croatia’s Marla Vidakovic was the second player to fall victim to Zhou (11-8, 11-3, 11-2) before the Singapore competitor rounded the day off with a nail-biting 3-2 victory over Romania’s Luciana Mitrofan (11-5, 17-19, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4).

“It wasn’t the best start for me because I had problems with some of my rivals, but I played some good games, and I’m happy with that. I’ll try to do my best tomorrow,” said Zhou Jingyi

The host nation enjoyed two exciting performances from the group hurdle as world number 464 Zuzanna Wielgos and number 318 Ilona Sztwiertnia saw off France’s Lucie Mobarek (11-8, 11-8, 11-7), ranked 77th, and Romania’s Bianca Mei Rosu (10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-4), 52nd, to reach the Round of 16. Germany’s Annett Kaufmann also shone as she outpaced French rival Charlotte Lutz (11-5, 11-6, 11-8) in group seven.

Kaufmann was just as ruthless in the Under-15 Girls’ Singles. The second-ranked entry in the event was simply a class above her group opposition, with Poland’s Natalia Bogdanowicz (11-4, 11-6, 11-5) and Romania’s Cristina Singeorzan (11-6, 11-6, 11-6) unable to dent Kaufmann’s spirits. Overall, Kaufmann contested six matches across all events on day three and is yet to drop a single game!

“I am very happy that I managed to win all the matches by a 3-0 score. I think the toughest match was against Charlotte Lutz in the Under-19s. I know her well, she knows me too, but I had more luck, so I managed to win the match. The rest of the matches were also difficult; I played a lot of games today and felt tired, but I made it,” said Annett Kaufmann

German colleagues Mia Griesel and Jele Stortz also emerged as group winners, while compatriot Josephina Neumann accounted for the host nation’s Wanessa Kulczycka (11-2, 11-4, 11-2) to progress as group seven runner-up. Hana Goda took top honours in group one with the up-and-coming Egyptian star successfully navigating encounters against Russia’s Aleksandra Bokova (11-3, 11-4, 11-6) and France’s Elise Pujol (11-5, 11-7, 11-5).

On Friday evening, the Under-15 Girls’ Doubles draw was whittled down to four pairs, with Zofia Sliwka and Milena Mirecka ensuring Polish representation in the semi-finals. Surviving tense moments in their Round of 16 encounter with Croatia’s Zrinka Rebic and Romania’s Cristina Singeorzan (9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 12-10), Sliwka and Mirecka booked their penultimate round tickets with another competent outing against the fourth-ranked Croatian partnership of Sena Smailji and Marla Vidakovic (11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 11-3).

Luciana Mitrofan and Ioana Singeorzan saw their resolve tested twice in the Under-19 Girls’ Doubles. The Romanian combination held off Polish counterparts Anna Brzyska and Zuzanna Wielgos in a nervy opener (11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-6). They required the full match distance once again in the quarter-finals, with Germany’s Naomi Pranjkovic and Russia’s Arina Slautina also putting up a brave fight (4-11, 11-7, 11-4, 16-18, 11-7).

Three days down, just one to go in Wladyslawowo as players put it all on the line for the final four titles on offer. Saturday’s programme commences from 0930 local time with Round of 16 action from the Under-15 and Under-19 Girls’ Singles events featuring front and centre. The eight players left standing in both events then meet from 1200 before semi-final fixtures take centre stage from 1500. The Under-15 and Under-19 Girls’ Doubles finals open the day’s closing session from 1745 local time, followed by the two title deciders in the Singles.

For event details of WTT Youth Star Contender Wladyslawowo, click here.

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