Silver lining in Serbia

The European Youth Championships sees the cream of the crop of junior and cadet players come together aiming to become European champions.

This year the event was held in Belgrade in Serbia and Wales had two players competing; Anna Hursey and Lara Whitton who were accompanied by coach Matt Porter.

Playing the junior girls singles, both girls made it through their groups, Anna making light work of Raili Nurga from Estonia and Sabine Darmanin from Malta 3-0 before a closer match with Jasmin Wong from England coming through 3-2 to top her group. Lara started her campaign with a 3-2 win over Sapir Berkovich from Israel before another 3-2-win against  Melisa Sadikovic from Luxemburg before going down to Sabina Musajeva 3-0. Round 1 saw Anna come out 4-0 winner over Katarina Mihalov from North Macedonia and Lara unlucky to go down 4-3, coming back from 3-1 down, to Valeria Viery from Moldova. The last 64 saw the seeds introduced and Anna had to play the inform Zuzanna Wielgos from Poland, unfortunately the result went the way of the seedings with Anna losing out 4-1.

The mixed doubles saw Anna play with Louie Price from England and Lara play with Deniss Vasiljevs from Lativa. Both pairs went down in the first round. Anna and Louie losing to a Spanish Pair 3-1 and Lara and Deniss to an Austrian pair 3-2.

For the junior girls doubles Lara teamed up with Fleur Hoogeveen but lost 3-0 to Aleksandra Titievskaja and Ramona Betz from Finland. Anna formed a GB partnership with Ireland’s Sophie Earley. The pair took out Dzana Biogradlic and Mariji Njatic from Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 to start their medal quest.  The next round saw the girls take out Swedish pair Matilda Hasson and Rebecca Muskantor, who were seeded 13th, 3-1 to reach the last 16 and set up a clash vs the 3rd seeds, Nicole Arlia from Italy and Luciana Mitrofan from Romania. Building into the game the GB pair came through to take the match 3-2 and a spot in the Quarter finals. The Quarters saw a re match from the singles with Zuzanna Wielgos returning to the table with partner Anna Brzyska, the 6th seeds from Poland. This time saw Wales and Ireland come out as winners and securing at least a bronze medal. The Semi’s German opposition, Mia Griesel and Lea Lachenmayer.  A topsy turvey match saw Anna and Sophie come through 3-2 to secure their place in the final. The final saw the top seeded pair of Hana Arapovic from Croatia and Linda Zaderova from The Czech Republic, who showed their strength coming out as winners 3-0.

The results and performances are excellent preparation for the commonwealth games starting on the 27th of July with both Anna and Lara being part of the team.