Favorites stumbled in the opening round of the Women’s EventPhoto: Vladimir ZDANOVICH
2018 BELGOSSTRAKH European Under 21 Championships
The opening day of the competition at the 2018 BELGOSSTRAKH European Under 21 Championships in Minsk proved very difficult for girls, who started matches early at 9 AM local time, whilst for the time of men’s event it seamed that the boys were ready.
In the opening round of the Women’s Singles event top ranked two players in Stage one Lisa LUNG of Belgium and Andreea DRAGOMAN of Romania recorded easy wins.
“It was not that easy match for me. It was the opening one at the tournament and I need some time to warm up,” said LUNG who beat Simay KULAKCEKEN of Turkey.
However, for the Karoline MISCHEK of Austria it was a tough start. She suffered by the hands of third player in the group, Rebekka CARLSEN of Norway 1:4.
“I maintained my focus and to play for each ball. It was very difficult match for me,” said CARLSEN.
Seeded at the position no. four in her Group Marketa SEVCIKOVA of Czech Republic overcame Hungary’s Leonie HARTBRICH 4:2. “I am not happy how I played at the beginning. I performed bad at the start, but managed to do much better in the end,” said SEVCIKOVA.
Veronica MOSCONI of Italy prevailed against Marie MAESEN of Belgium: ”It was not hard for me to win this one. I think my adversary did not show her best, so I took the upper hand.”
Cristina KALLBERG of Sweden beat Ana TOFANT of Slovenia in straight games. “I’d say it was not tough, but it was not easy neither. Quite OK, that’s it. I did not do anything special, I just focused on putting the ball to the table. My opponent was not very strong, too, maybe she was not in her best today. I am happy I have won” said KALLBERG.
Ozge YILMAZ of Turkey stretched the favorite, Ilka DOVAL of Norway to full seven games. “Although the score is 4:3, I can’t say this was a difficult match. It’s my first here, so I think I’ll do better in the next games,” TYILMAZ was confident after the match.
Marek BADOWSKI of Poland, the leading name in the first phase, beat Jordy PICCOLIN of Italy in straight games. Despite slight injury Deni KOZUL of Slovenia joined him after the victory over Matteo MUTTI of Italy.
“I had to fight for each point. My adversary was strong, so I had to catch his rhythm to deal with his backhands. Also, he played aggressively, so the game was tense. I’m glad about the results,” said KOZUL.
Andreas LUND of Denmark safely concluded opening round, but in the same Group Florian CNUDE of Belgium suffered by the hands of Aleksandr LUSIN of Estonia. “I did not expect to win this match. Three months ago I lost 3:0 to this player, so that’s a nice surprise for me. His play style is something I can hardly catch. I think the change of spin helped me to win today. A glorious game, this is it,” LUSIN was very happy.
Maciej KOLODZIEJCZYK of Austria beat Helshan WEERASINGHE of England, but he found himself in great trouble after Helshan recovered from 2:0 to level the match.
“The first two sets were a piece of cake, but then something changed in the mood of the game, so I started losing. I lost two next games. Finally, I understood what was needed, I changed my service style, got a good ball to play and managed to lead in the fifth set, which was crucial for me to recover. Many fast balls were on the play, so I had to act quickly, with no time to think” explained KOLODZIEJCZYK.
Csaba ANDRAS of Hungary upset the favorite. He beat Nils HOHMEIER of Germany 1:4. “I had told my coach that I had to win before the match. Actually, the game was nice, but there were some difficulties. I lost the first set and understood that something was missing, but then I got the chance to make neat services, received well and applied many backhand loops and topspins, which, I think, helped me a lot. A nice one, I’d say. “
Ioannis SGOUROPOULOS of Greece overcame top seeded player in his Group Abdullah YINGLERT of Turkey 4:2.
“You never know what to expect from the first match. I played free, did my best, but still I lost two sets, so I had to re-focus to achieve the result. My opponent is a strong player, so yes, it wasn’t easy,” said SGOUROPOULOS.
Joan MASIP of Spain forced Simon SODERLUND of Sweden to go full distance.
“The game was tough for me. Actually, I had to struggle with my own play during the match, because there were some flaws with the short serves. Also, I’d known little about the tactics of my rival, so I had to adapt to the situation, explained SODERLUND.
Another favorite, Jiri MARTINKO of Czech Republic and another escape by narrow margin. Artur ABUSEV of Russia recovered from 1:3 in reverse, but failed to win the match.
“ I had a great start, so I thought it to be an easy one. I was still leading 3:1 when the situation changed in the fifth set. It was a real battle, but in the end I got my victory. Also, I’ve played with ABUSEV many times before, and he always beat me, so today’s win is an achievement for me” said MARTINKO.
Samuel KALUZNY of Slovakia overcame Israel’s Mathan SIMON 4:1 “Second and third game were crucial in this match. In the second I was leading 8-4 and still lost it. After taht it was hard for me to regain the rhythm of the game. The third game was long, as we made it 15:13, but it determined the result of the game, and it was in my favor!”
Swede Simon BERGLUND overcame Carlos CABALLERO of Spain: “I started well, but then we had some very tight games. My opponent played very safe, and he produced great spins and forehands, so I had to work hard for each point.”