NIKITCHANKA in the quarters of the Women’s EventPhoto: Vladimir ZDANOVICH
2018 BELGOSSTRAKH European Under 21 Championships
Top seeded player at the Women’s Singles Event Germany’s WAN Yuan inflicted the pain in the host nation supporters by beating Nadezhda BOGDANOVA of Belarus in the Round of 16 at the 2018 BELGOSSTRAKH European Under 21 Championships.
“This game was very demanding for me. Not only is Nadezhda a good player, but I should also note that she is stronger than me. I felt uncomfortable playing against her, but in the end it was me who won. I felt a lot of pressure from the tribunes, but I tried to ignore the shouts and just play. What's more, my coach's support was vitally important for me, and in the breaks Tamara BOROS told me that I would win despite everything. She has never ceased to believe in me,” said WAN.
WAN Yuan succeeded after fierce battle (11:4, 12:14, 9:11, 11:7, 9:11, 11:5, 11:6).
“I'm grateful for the support of the fans, it helped me through. I heard that people believed in me and in my victory, so I was confident and did everything I could. My tactics for this game was to hit through the right, as she played left, but she had pimples on the right side, so it was hard to strike as planned,” said BOGDANOVA.
The winner of the bronze medal last year in Sochi, junior Mariia TAILAKOVA of Russia overcame Tatiana KUKULKOVA of Slovakia in the Round of 16 (3:11, 11:8, 4:11, 6:11, 14:16).
“We played last time against each other three years ago as cadets. I beat her in five games just like today. Her game has not changed a lot, since, so I knew that she had a passive approach and that I have to attack first. At some point of the match I lost a focus, but my coach was there to rebuild my confidence and to bring me back in the match,” said TAILAKOVA.
Marketa SEVCIKOVA of Czech Republic suffered by the hands of Anna WEGRZYN of Poland (10:12, 11:6, 6:11, 11:5, 11:7, 11:6).
“I'm so glad that I succeeded in this hard match. The toughest part of it was at 2:2, just after I had lost a game. I had to focus and revise my tactics, so I added more top spins to my play and succeeded. I feel exhausted but happy,” admitted Anna.
Anastasia KOLISH of Russia beat Jamila LAURENTI of Italy (4:11, 8:11, 5:11, 4:11), whilst in the lower half of the draw Valeria SHCHERBATYKH of Russia overcame Lisa LUNG of Belgium (11:7, 11:9, 11:4, 11:7).
“ I had prepared well before this game and succeeded without any major difficulties. The hardest thing was to maintain focus throughout the match, because my usual problem is that I lose concentration in the last sets. Hence, the most serious part of the game was when I was leading 3:0, it was crucial to stay focused. Lisa Lung is a serious rival, and I wasn't really sure about the result of the encounter. What's more, I lost to her twice in the past,” explained SHCHERBATYKH.
Natalia BAJOR of Poland overcame Andreea DRAGOMAN of Romania on her way to the quarterfinal (6:11, 11:13, 13:11, 4:11, 9:11).
“It was our first encounter and I am very happy with the level of the game I produced. I kept Andreea close to the table with the short balls and I was better in the backhand exchange of the rallies. I outplayed her,” said BAJOR.
Ozge YILMAZ of Turkey beat Daria TRIGOLOS of Belarus (9:11, 11:4, 12:10, 11:8, 8:11, 13:11). However, there were some consolation for the fans in the victory of Alina NIKITCHANKA. She eliminated the seed no. two Adina DIACONU of Romania (8:11, 13:11, 7:11, 11:8, 11:4, 11:5).
“It was so great playing in front of such enthusiastic crowd. They helped me a lot and lifted me when I was down. Of course, at the beginning was not that easy because it made me nervous, but as the times went by I felt better and better. Yesterday was under less stress, I guess the importance of the matches put some weight on my legs, but it ended well,” said
NIKITCHANKA.”The matches between Adina and me were always close, but I did not want to think about it. I was just focused on today's match.”