Chantal MANTZ upset the pecking order in SochiPhoto: Alex LOMAEV
European STAG Under 21 Championships
The Round of 16 in Women’s Singles Event at the 2017 STAG European Under 21 Championships was filled with the surprises.
The start of knock out phase brought the departure of the top seeded Adina DIACONU of Romania. The adversary was not to be underestimated; former European Youth Champion and World’s no 115 Chantal MANTZ of Germany beat Adina in six games (11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10). MANTZ is also seeded at the high position she is no. three in Sochi.
“This early clash was my fault. I lost yesterday in the Group against Croatia’s Dorina SREBRNJAK so I concluded that stage at position no. two,” explained MANTZ. “It was very difficult match against Adina. I started good, but Adina adjusted to my tactics, recovered and forced me to change my game.”
The list of upsets continued with the defeat of no. 5 seed Andreea DRAGOMAN of Romania against Ekaterina GUSEVA of Russia (9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 10-12).
“After two close games I took to many risks in third. At 9:9I missed and lost that game. It scared me a little,” said GUSEVA who pointed this was their first duel at the major event. ”I wanted to attack first, to be in the game with the good first ball.”
One of the most pleasant surprises at the tournament is young Zdena BLASKOVA of Czech Republic. She will turn 16 next week, but she certainly earned respect among older contesters at the U21 Championship. On her way to the top 8 players in women’s Singles Event Zdena was required to play both group stages and successfully prevailed.
“I was very nervous at the start. In the first phase Charlotte CAREY of Wales was in my Group. I was three games to one in reverse; she had a match point at 7:10…And then I have won it. It did not get easier in the proceedings, but I am very happy with my performance,” said BLASKOVA.
Against Tatiana KUKULKOVA, Zdena succeeded in straight games (11-3, 11-7, 11-8, 14-12).
“The most important thing for me was to satay focused. I struggled a little at the end, but I got my grip and finished the match without making unnecessary drama,” said Zdena.
Maria TAILAKOVA of Russia beat Alina NIKITCHANKA of Belarus (11-9, 11-7, 11-4, 14-16, 11-7).
“After I won the opening game I was in the driving seat. It was only important not to lose the focus. I had to stick to the tactics. I know very well her style of play and I expected she will make me suffer for each ball, but I was prepared for hard rallies.”
Klara CAKOL of Croatia lost against Natalia BAJOR of Poland (11-8, 6-11, 9-11, 9-11, 7-11); ZHANG Xuan Xu of Spain prevailed against Veronica MOSCONI of Italy (11-3, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6), Lisa LUNG of Belgium overcame Tin Tin Ho of England (11-7, 11-1, 6-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-7), Andrea PAVLOVIC of Croatia suffered by the hands of WAN Yuan of Germany (7-11, 13-11, 8-11, 1-0-12, 8-11)