2017 Italian Junior & Cadet Open, ITTF Premium Junior Circuit
(By Bruce Liu)
Only two US players entered the ITTF Premium Junior Circuit. They are the twins Joanna and Rachel Sung of Bay Area. They also played the Swedish Junior & Cadet Open a couple of weeks ago and won Silver and Bronze medals at the Mini-Cadet Girls Singles event.
The Italian Junior & Cadet Open is one of the ITTF Premium junior events while the one one in Sweden was categorized as a “Regular” event. So, the competition level is expected to be higher. Just how high? Here is an example, the reigning 2016 US Open Women’s Singles Champion Adriana Diaz, the top seed of the tournament, was eliminated at the quarterfinals at the Junior Girls Singles event!
Joanna and Rachel did well at the Cadet Girls Teams event. The sisters were seeded only 9th in the event. Upset the third seed HUNGARY 3-1 in the preliminary group. In the quarterfinals, upset the 6th Seed BULGARIA 3-1. In the semifinals, they lost to France 2-3, the eventual winning team. In the third Doubles match, USA lead 2:0. But, alas, lost 11:8 in the fifth! It turned out crucial. Although Rachel dutifully won her two singles matches upsetting two higher ranked French players, the lost 2-3 and the chance to play at the Final.
In the Cadet Girls Singles event, Rachel was 6th seed player and went directly into the main draw. Joanna had to play the preliminary round robin. Joanna was only the 3rd seed in her group. She ignored the seedings and upset the #1 and 2 players in the group advancing to the main draw as a top finisher. Joanna continue to do well. She won her first round match but stopped at round of 32 by the fifth seed Lou Frete of France who she also lost to at the medal round at the Cadet Girls Teams. Lou Frete later upset the top seed and finished third in the event.
Rachel’s road to final wasn’t easy. Upset #2 seed at the quarterfinals and #4 player at the semifinals. Her opponent at the final was the #3 seed Lucie Mobarek of France who she had beaten at the Cadet Girls Teams semifinals.
At the rematch, Rachel lost the first game and bounced back winning the next two games. In the fourth game, while leading 2-1 in games, the table was turned, Rachel trailed 4:10 in just a few minutes. It seemed that it would have inevitably gone to the decisive 5th game. However, Rachel saved 6 game points in a row and won the game 14:12 – and the match and the Gold.
The twin sisters still have two years in the Cadet category. A bright future in the sport is almost certain.
For full results and photos, please visit link below: