by Calvin Koh
Liu started her campaign convincingly with comprehensive 3-0 wins over Italy’s Aurora Cicuttini, Hungary’s Irisz Laskai and Switzerland’s Cynthia Lilly in the group stages. The Australian commenced her knock-out rounds by eliminating England’s Amy Marriott and Hungary’s Dorottya Tolgyes in the Rounds of 32 and 16.
The Australian then dispatched Austria’s Anastasiya Radzionava in the quarter-final before a straight-game win over Sweden’s Matilda Hansson in the semi-final to set up a showdown with Singapore’s Zhou Jingyi.
Liu, making her first competitive appearance in nearly two years, won the first game 11-9 before Zhou levelled the score by taking the second game 11-5. Liu proved too strong for the Singaporean as she won the next two games 11-8, 11-5 to clinch the Under-19 Girls Singles title.
“Everyone tries hard to win this competition, and it’s the same for me. Zhou Jingyi played a very good match, but I’m happy I achieved my goal in the end. This is my last event as a junior, and so this win is very important for me,” said 19-year-old Liu.
Ser, meanwhile, was in a class of her own as she stormed her way to the Under-15 final with straight game wins over Italy’s Giulia Varveri, Austria’s Celine Anubis Panholzer and Sweden’s Alice Nilsson.
Her clash with Ireland’s Sophie Earley was not as straight-forward, but the 15-year-old surprised even herself as she produced another magical performance to outclass her rival 3-2 (5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7) in a five-game contest.
“I did not expect to win the tournament because I am recovering from a back injury. This is my second event after last week’s event in Poland. It was a close fight with Sophie in the final, and she put up a strong challenge. I am delighted with my game and happy to have won my first international Singles title,” said Ser.
In the Under-11 Girls’ Singles event, Benko defeated Austria’s Mariia Lytvyn 3-2 (9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8) to top the podium.
“I really wanted to win this competition because I have been playing well. So, I’m very proud and happy of this golden moment,” said Benko.
For more details on WTT Youth Contender Lignano, click here.