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Success for Romania (Photo: ETTU)

Poland and Romania emerged the respective winners of the junior boys’ team and junior girls’ team titles at the Gazprom 2021 European Youth Championships in Varazdin on Wednesday 21st July.

However, the wins were very much in contrasting manners; Poland needed the full five matches to overcome France, for Romania it was a most imposing 3-0 success in opposition to Russia.

Maciej Kubik was the hero of the hour for Poland, after losing to Alexis Lebrun in the second match of the fixture (11-7, 14-12, 11-8), he kept his nerve to overcome Thibault Poret (11-7, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5) in vital fifth and deciding match of the contest.

The win came after Samuel Kulczycki had experienced mixed fortunes beating Thibault Poret (11-7, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9), before losing to Alexis Lebrun (11-5, 7-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6). In the vital third match of the engagement Milosz Redzimski had overcome Alexis Kourachi (11-6, 12-14, 12-10, 13-11).

A special occasion for Poland

Noteworthy finish

Romania, represented by Eduard Ionescu, Darius Movileanu and Andrei Teodor Istrate secured third place, a notable achievement for a team that started proceedings in level two.

In the play-off contest they recorded a 3-1 win in opposition to Spain’s Miguel Angel Pantoja, Miguel Nuñez and Marc Miro.
Mainstay of the Romanian success was Darius Movileanu; he accounted for both Miguel Nuñez (12-10, 11-8, 11-9) and Miguel Angel Pantoja (11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 2-11, 11-6).

Command performance

Impressive from the Romanian boys, from the girls it was commanding.
In the final against Russia, Ioana Singeorzan gave Romania the ideal start by overcoming the very impressive Elizabet Abraamian (12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9). Elena Zaharia maintained the momentum by beating Liubov Tentser (11-6, 11-6, 11-7), before Luciana Mitrofan concluded matters by overcoming Natalia Malinina (11-5, 11-5, 11-8).

Notably Elena Zaharia and Luciana Mitrofan completed the whole event unbeaten.

Third place was secured by the French trio comprising Isa Cok, Camille Lutz and Charlotte Lutz; in their concluding fixture, they posted a 3-0 win in opposition to Turkey’s Ozge Yilmaz, Ece Harac and Yagmur Sewal Karaca.

Incredible record

It was for Romania no less than the 13th time when they had secured the title, the first being in 1956 in Opatija, the second occasion when the tournament had been staged.

Mariana Barasch and Maria Golopenta, better known by her married name, Maria Alexandru were the players in question. Later in 1966 in London, Maria Alexandru won the women’s singles title at the European Championships.

Meanwhile, for Poland, it was the third occasion when they had claimed the junior boys’ team top prize. They won in 1999 in Frydek-Mistek and retained the title the following year in Bratislava.

Coincidentally on both occasions they beat France in the final!

Attention now turns to the individual events.