(by Steve Hopkins)
The World Table Tennis Contender event in Metz, France concluded this week. A pair of Americans made deep runs in the event, Sid Naresh (who was the top seed in the U19 Boys Singles event) and Sarah Jalli (who advanced to at least the Quarterfinals in both U19 Girls Singles and U17 Girls Singles).
The top two seeds in the U19 Boys Singles event were USA’s Sid Naresh and France’s Thibault Poret. Sid did his part early in the day Sunday, winning three matches in a row (3-0, 3-0, and 3-1). However, he ran out of gas in the Semifinal when he fell 0-3 to France’s Hugo Deschamps. The scores were not close (7, 4, 7) as Sid fell to one of the home-town favorites. Being “local” turned out to be a big advantage in the event, as three of the four Semifinalists were French players). In the end, Poret topped Deschamps in the Final 3-1.
Sarah Jalli was not a top seed in either of her events. That did not stop her from making deep runs in both the U19 and U17 events. In the U19 Girls Singles event, Jalli beat a Czech player 3-1, the Spain’s Sastre 3-0, then the event’s seventh seed France’s Avezou 3-2. After the upset, Jalli faced off against the top seed (Nicole Arlia of Italy) and the result was the same – a Jalli upset win 3-1. Jalli lost in the Semifinal to Lin Qian Ser, the event’s eventual winner.
In the U17 Girls Singles event, Jalli against scored a series of wins – this time topping Belgium’s Massart and Poland’s Wielgos and Russia’s Kurilkina and Portugal’s Pingo and Russia’s Brzyska on her way to the Final. And in the Final, facing France’s Nicolar Arlia, the event’s top seed, it was Jalli winning 3-1. A convincing win in Metz
Solid performances by the young Americans – a refreshing site to have the USA in the Quarterfinals of major European events.
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