2019 POLISH JUNIOR & CADET OPEN
Thursday 23rd May
Sakura Yokoi strikes gold in Wladyslawowo
The no.7 seed, Japan’s Sakura Yokoi won the junior girls’ singles title at the 2019 Polish Junior and Cadet Open in Wladyslawowo on Thursday 23rd May, a success that judging by her performances earlier in the year, was going to happen sooner rather than later.
Previous appearances in the Czech Republic, Sweden and France, always the 15 year old had reserved a place on the podium; month by month she had made her presence known.
In February in the Czech Republic and in France she excelled. In the former she reached the junior girls’ singles quarter-finals, the cadet girls’ singles semi-finals; in the latter she was a junior girls’ singles semi-finalist, the cadet girls’ singles runner up.
Two months later, she returned to Europe; in France as in the Czech Republic, she advanced junior girls’ singles last eight, notably she struck cadet girls’ singles gold.
On the second day of action in Wladyslawowo, in the later rounds she ended Polish hopes, at the quarter-final stage she accounted for Anna Wegrzyn, the top seed, by the very narrowest of decisions, recovering from a 6-9 deficit in the seventh (11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9), before in the final accounting for twin sister Katarzyna Wegrzyn, the no.5 seed (14-12, 13-11, 11-6, 11-9).
Sandwiched in between, in the penultimate round, Sakura Yokoi had ended the hopes of Germany’s Franziska Schreiner, the no.6 seed (12-14, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8), the winner one round earlier in opposition to Russia’s Kristina Kazantseva, the no.3 seed (11-5, 9-11, 5-11, 11-3, 11-8, 4-11, 12-10).
Impressive from Sakura Yokoi, in the opposite half of the draw it had been very much the same from Katarzyna Wegrzyn. At the quarter-final stage she beat the Czech Republic’s Zdena Blaskova, the no.2 seed (11-8, 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10), prior to ousting Japanese qualifier, Hikari Okubo (6-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7). Notably one round earlier, Hikari Okubo had ended the progress of Romania’s Tania Plaian, the no.4 seed (8-11, 8-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6).
By Ian Marshall, Editor
Photo Credit: ITTF