European Championships

Annett KAUFMANN came in the last minute and conquered Spa

Photo: Bernard Comeliau

European cadet singles champion from Varazdin this year, Annett KAUFMANN of Germany clinched the title in the Women's Singles Event at the 2021 GAZPROM European Under 21 Championships in Spa. In the final she overcame Russia's Mariia TAILAKOVA of Russia (11:13, 11:6, 9:11, 8:11, 11:7, 8:11). Bronze medalists are Andreea DRAGOMAN of Romania and Franziska SCHREINER of Germany.

Annett KAUFMANN came to Spa with the wild card and in the final match she overcame the no. one seed. She is the youngest winner of an European Under 21 Championships. Annett (23-6-2006) is now 15 years and 5 months, 2 month younger than Pritikha Pavade (2-8-2004) who won in March 2020.

“I can not believe I did it. It was not planed that I will be here at all, and now I am the winner. I am so happy. TAILAKOVA played fantastic matches during the tournament and I still do not believe I beat her. It was hard tournament for me mentally. I always want to win and being in such fierce competition it is sometimes difficult. I was overwhelmed with all what was happening here,” said Annett KAUFMANN.

In the penultimate stage of the event Mariia TAILAKOVA of Russia overcame silver medalist from last year's edition of the U21 Championships in Varazdin, Andreea DRAGOMAN of Romania in five games (6:11, 11:5, 11:9, 11:5, 18:16).

“We played against each other long time ago and a lot things changed in time of Covid. We did not have a chance to meet recently, so I did not know what to expect. That is why I had a slow start, I had to see what to play against Andreea. Then I found the right tactics, I attacked her from the first ball and took over the control. At the end I had a match point at 10:8, I wanted to finish quick but I rushed too much and that costed me few points. At the end it was 50/50, but I prevailed,” explained TAILAKOVA.

In all-German clash Annett KAUFMANN overcame Franziska SCHREINER.

“I am happy that I won this one, but it was very hard. They tell us to be professional and to play without emotions, but it is difficult. I faced my friend who is in my team, we share the room together, train together...It was not easy to act like it is any other match. On top of all Franziska played extremely good. I had to preform my top game in order to keep the game under control. It was amazing match,” explained KAUFMANN.

Photo: Bernard Comeliau