Deni KOZUL won the title in Varazdin in superb stylePhoto: Courtesy ITTF
Puerto Rico’s Adriana DIAZ won the Junior Girls’ Singles event
Slovenia’s Deni KOZUL won the Junior Boys’ Singles event at the 2015 Croatia Junior and Cadet Open in Varazdin. The no.4 seed, at the final hurdle, he beat Russia’s Denis IVONIN, the no.12 seed (11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9), having at the quarter-final and semi-final stages ended German hopes.
In the round of the last eight he beat Gerrit ENGEMANN, the no.5 seed, in a full distance seven games duel (11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6), before reserving his place in the final courtesy of success against Balazs HUTTER, the no.14 seed (11-6, 9-11, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8, 12-10).
Success against Balzs HUTTER was success against a player in form; at the quarter-final stage he had caused a major upset by beating Romania’s Cristian PLETEA, the top seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7).
In addition to reaching the semi-final stage of the Junior Boys’ Singles event, Balzs HUTTER won the Junior Boys’ Doubles title in partnership with Jonah SCHLIE; at the final hurdle the duo accounted for Deni KOZUL and his Slovenian colleague, Darko JORGIC (11-4, 8-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5).
Puerto Rico’s Adriana DIAZ won the Junior Girls’ Singles event, it was her first ever ITTF Junior Circuit Girls’ Singles title.
At no stage of the proceedings was Adriana Diaz, the top seed, extended the full distance. The most severe test was at the quarter-final stage, when requiring six games to halt the aspirations of the host nation in the guise of Klara CAKOL, the no.8 seed (12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 7-11, 6-11, 11-9).
A difficult hurdle negotiated, confident, the Puerto Rican teenager accounted for Russia’s Kristina KAZANTSEVA, the no.14 seed, in five games (5-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4), before securing the title at the expense of Romania’s Andreea DRAGOMAN, the no.2 seed. Similar to the penultimate round exchanges, Adriana DIAZ won in five games (11-9, 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 11-9).
No medals gained by the host nation; but that was not the situation in the Junior Girls’ Doubles event, where three of the four finalists were from Croatia, the interloper being Slovenia’s Tamara PAVCNIK. She partnered Klara CAKOL to success against Ema MARN and Andrea PAVLOVICH, the winners earlier this year of the Cadet Girls’ Doubles title at the European Youth Championships in Bratislava.
A tense hard fought final, Klara CAKOL and Andrea PAVLOVICH resisted a brave recovery to emerge success by the very narrowest of margins (11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 13-11).