Champions Samuel Kulczycki, Sophia Klee, Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu

Europe Youth Top 10 champions!

Author:
Paul Stimpson

Publish date:

Cristian Pletea, Adina Diaconu, Samuel Kulczycki and Sophia Klee are the champions of the Europe Youth Top 10.

They beat the rest of the best from the continent to stand atop the podium after three days of intense competition at Worcester Arena.

It was a Romania double in the juniors as Pletea and Diaconu took the plaudits, while Poland’s Kulczycki was the Cadet Boys winner and Klee took the Cadet Girls gold.

Charlotte Bardsley picked up the only English win of the competition in her final match, but Josh Bennett, Denise Payet and Ethan Walsh can take great pride in having mixed it with the best.

English contingent Charlotte Bardsley, Ethan Walsh, Denise Payet and Josh Bennett

Click here for full results on the tournament website.

Day one report

Day two report

All photos by Alan Man – click here to view more photos from day three

Junior Boys

Top seed Cristian Pletea avenged his defeat to Ioannis Sgouropoulos in the European Juniors, beating his Greek opponent 4-0 in the final round and falling to his knees in joy.

It completed a Romania double, Adina Diaconu having earlier won the girls’ competition in the same age group.

Sgouropoulos had to settle for silver, while bronze went to eighth seed Bastien Rembert of France, who turned in some eye-catching results.

Final standings: 1 Cristian Pletea (ROU, seeded 1), 2 Ioannis Sgouropoulos (GRE, 2), 3 Bastien Rembert (FRA, 8), 4 Irvin Bertran (FRA, 4), 5 Gerrit Engemann (GER, 7), 6 Florian Cnudde (BEL, 6), 7 Tobias Hippler (GER, 5), 8 Matteo Mutti (ITA, 9), 9 Rares Sipos (ROU, 3), 10 Josh Bennett (ENG, 10).

Round seven immediately shook up the top of the standings as Bertrand surprised Sgouropoulos 4-1, holding his nerve after the Greek saved three match points to triumph 13-11 in the fifth.

Cristian Pletea

Pletea took advantage to re-join Sgouropoulos at the top with a comfortable 4-0 scoreline against Hippler, with Bertrand now sitting in third.

Engemann continued Sipos’ poor tournament with a 4-2 win, while Cnudde eased to a 4-0 scoreline against Bennett after galloping through the first two games.

The other match saw a remarkable set score of 21-19 in favour of Mutti against Rembert – but it was the Italian’s only success in a 4-1 reverse.

Round eight saw victories for the top two, but it was far harder for Sgourpoulos. Seemingly cruising at 3-0 up against Hippler, he saw his opponent come back to level and work up a lead in the decider, seeing three match points come and go and then howling in frustration as the Greek took his opportunity at 12-11.

Pletea’s win over Bertrand was a comparatively easier 4-2 in which he always had the edge. That result enabled Cnudde to move into joint third with Bertrand with a four-straight victory over Rembert.

Engemann got his fourth win, 4-0 against Bennett, while Sipos earned his second by the same margin against Mutti.

And so to the summit meeting, and it was Pletea who turned it on against Sgouropoulos, never looking in serious danger of losing as he romped home 4-0.

Rembert’s 4-0 win over Sipos was enough for bronze, ahead of countryman Bertrand, who beat Hippler 4-1. Engemann finished with a 4-0 triumph over Cnudde, while Mutti took five sets to get the better of Bennett.

Junior Girls

Eight out of nine was still perfect for Adina Diaconu as the Romanian took top seed gold, crowning her achievement by fighting back from 3-0 down to win her final match 4-3 in great style.

Russia’s Anastasia Kolish took silver while ninth seed Jennie Wolf, the surprise package of the tournament took a superb bronze medal for Germany.

Final standings: 1 Adina Diaconu (ROU, seeded 1), 2 Anastasia Kolish (RUS, 5), 3 Jennie Wolf (GER, 9), 4 Lisa Lung (BEL, 4), 5 Zhang Xuan (ESP, 6), 6 Izabela Lupulesku (SRB, 3), 7 Luisa Saeger (GER, 7), 8 Andreea Dragoman (ROU, 2), 9 Tania Plaian (ROU, 8), 10 Denise Payet (ENG, 10).

Round seven saw some pivotal fixtures – and four of them went the distance to a decider. The big winners were Diaconu, winning a see-saw encounter against Kolish 11-8 in the seventh, and Lung, who had to withstand a comeback from 0-3 to 3-3 by Lupulesku before prevailing 11-7 in the last.

Plaian effectively ended Zhang’s medal hopes 12-10 in the last, while surprise package Wolf continued her quest for medals with a comfortable win over Payet in four straight. Saeger’s 4-3 win over Dragoman was an impressive performance, though not one which would affect the podium.

Adina Diaconu

Diaconu made sure of gold in round eight with a clinical 4-0 triumph over Lung, which also enabled Wolf to join Lung in second thanks to a 4-0 victory of her own, over Plaian.

A third match decided in four was Lupulesku’s win over Kolish, which severely dented the latter’s medal hopes.

In the matches not impacting on the podium fight, Dragoman beat Zhang in six and Saeger overcame Payet in five.

Diaconu staged a fightback worthy of a champion in the final round. Though the gold was already secure, her turnaround from 3-0 down to Lupulesku was a fitting end for the Romanian.

Wolf’s defeat to Dragoman in four was not enough to derail her medal bid, while Kolish’s 4-2 victory over Lung lifted her on to the podium.

Payet put up a good show in her last match, against Plaian, coming from 0-2 down to level, but her opponent found enough to take the next two games. Zhang’s 4-2 win over Saeger did not impact on the medals.

Cadet Boys

Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki rose from fifth seed to first place with a record of eight victories, one ahead of French duo Bilal Hamache and Dorian Zheng – Hamache taking silver having beaten his compatriot earlier in the competition.

England’s Ethan Walsh competed well in most of his matches buy was unable to pick up a win against a high standard of competition.

Final standings: 1 Samuel Kulczycki (POL, seeded 5), 2 Bilal Hamache (FRA, 1), 3 Dorian Zheng (FRA, 4), 4 Csaba Andras (HUN, 3), 5 Kay Stumper (GER, 2), 6 Olav Kosolosky (BEL, 6), 7 Martin Friis (SWE, 7), 8 Jules Cavaille (FRA, 9), 9 Daniel Rinderer (GER, 8), 10 Ethan Walsh (ENG, 10).

Kulczycki threw the competition wide open in round seven, defeating the previously unbeaten Hamache 4-2, taking the decisive sixth 12-10 having lost the fifth 14-12.

Samuel Kulczycki

Allied to Stumper’s 4-1 victory over Andras and Zheng’s 4-0 dispatching of Kosoloksy, it closed up the medal picture, with Kulczycki and Hamache on six wins and Stumper, Andras and Zheng on five each. Kulczycki, however, was in the box seat and would win gold if he and Hamache won both their remaining matches, by virtue of his head-to-head record.

Friis picked up his second victory as he came out on the right side of a 4-3 scoreline against Rinderer, while Cavaille saw off Walsh 4-1.

Hamache and Kulczycki made it seven from eight, beating Stumper (4-2) and Andras (4-0) respectively, while Zheng moved into third by beating Walsh 4-2 – though the English player again held his own and closed from 0-3 to 2-3 in a close match.

Friis won his third in succession, in a decider against Cavaille, while Kosolosky beat Rinderer 4-1.

The final round saw Kulczycki needing to beat Stumper to be sure of the gold and he duly obliged thanks to a 4-2 success. Hamache’s defeat to Andras in five made no difference to the colour of his medal as he stayed ahead of Zheng, who beat Friis 4-0. Kosolosky ended with a 4-0 defeat of Walsh and Cavaille finished up with a 4-2 victory over Rinderer.

Cadet Girls

Germany’s Sophia Klee struck gold, her winning streak of seven matches ensuring she was unstoppable going into the last two rounds.

Ozge Yilmaz of Turkey took silver, with bronze going to France’s Isa Cok, who won what was effectively a last-round shootout against Germany’s Anastasia Bondareva.

England’s Charlotte Bardsley put a smile on the face of the spectators with victory in her last match, against Lou Frete of France, to end in ninth place, level with her seeding.

Final standings: 1 Sophie Klee (GER, seeded 4), 2 Ozge Yilmaz (TUR, 7), 3 Isa Cok (FRA, 5), 4 Jamila Laurenti (ITA, 2), 5 Anastasia Bondareva (GER, 8), 6 Wenna Tu (GER, 5), 7 Elena Zaharia (ROU, 1), 8 Camille Lutz (FRA, 3), 9 Charlotte Bardsley (ENG, 9), 10 Lou Frete (FRA, 10).

Klee confirmed gold in the first round of the day, defeating Lutz in five to remain two ahead of the pack.

Yilmaz and Cok kept up the chase by moving to five wins apiece, overcoming Frete (4-1) and Tu (4-0) respectively – but, as Klee had already beaten them both, neither could get above her into top spot.

Sophia Klee

Bardsley saw another lead slip away as, from 2-1 up, she was beaten 4-2 by Bondareva.

Top seed Zaharia showed belated signs of life as she staged an astonishing fightback against second seed Laurenti, saving a match point in the fifth as she came from 3-0 down to win 4-3, screaming with delight when she took her own third match point.

Zaharia’s recovery continued in round eight when she inflicted Klee’s first defeat, going 3-0 up and then holding on to win 4-2 after the German closed back up.

The key match saw Yilmaz overcome Cok in a surprisingly one-sided 4-0 match (5, 4, 1, 8) to move into second place on her own. Cok was joined on five wins by Bondareva, a 4-1 victor over Frete.

Lutz ended the medal hopes of Laurenti thanks to a 4-2 victory, while Tu saw off Bardsley 4-1.

Klee’s 4-0 defeat to Laurenti in round nine had no bearing on the destination of the medals, while Yilmaz being beaten 4-2 by Tu equally did not alter her silver medal. Cok claimed the bronze with an impressive 4-0 score against Bondareva.

Zaharia sealed an unbeaten day, 4-1 against Lutz and Bardsley took her win by the same margin against Frete.

Today’s results

Cadet Girls
Round 7
Elena Zaharia (ROU) bt Jamila Laurenti (ITA) 4-3 (9-11, 7-11, 6-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-6, 11-7)
Sophia Klee (GER) bt Camille Lutz (FRA) 4-1 (11-6, 14-12, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7)
Anastasia Bondareva (GER) bt Charlotte Bardsley (ENG) 4-2 (11-8, 5-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 11-9)
Isa Cok (FRA) bt Wenna Tu (GER) 4-0 (11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3)
Ozge Yilmaz (TUR) bt Lou Frete (FRA) 4-1 (9-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8, 11-4)
Round 8
Lutz bt Laurenti 4-2 (6-11, 11-6, 11-2, 11-8, 11-13, 11-9)
Tu bt Bardsley 4-1 (12-10, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6)
Yilmaz bt Cok 4-0 (11-5, 11-4, 11-1, 11-8)
Bondareva bt Frete 4-1 (9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9)
Zaharia bt Klee 4-2 (11-7, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9)
Round 9
Zaharia bt Lutz 4-1 (11-4, 10-12, 13-11, 11-3, 11-7)
Laurenti v Klee 4-0 (11-5, 11-7, 17-15, 11-9)
Cok bt Bondareva 4-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6)
Tu v Yilmaz 4-2 (8-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5)
Bardsley v Frete 4-1 (8-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6)
Cadet Boys
Round 7
Kay Stumper (GER) bt Csaba Andras (HUN) 4-1 (8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5)
Samuel Kulczycki (POL) bt Bilal Hamache (FRA) 4-2 (11-7, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 12-14, 12-10)
Dorian Zheng (FRA) bt Olav Kosolosky (BEL) 4-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5)
Martin Friis (SWE) bt Daniel Rinderer (GER) 4-3 (3-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9)
Jules Cavaille (FRA) bt Ethan Walsh (ENG) 4-1 (11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-9)
Round 8
Hamache bt Stumper 4-2 (11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5)
Friis bt Cavaille 4-3 (8-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 2-11, 11-7, 11-3)
Zheng bt Walsh 4-2 (11-7, 12-10, 11-9, 12-14, 13-11, 11-8)
Kosolosky bt Rinderer 4-1 (11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9)
Kulczycki bt Andras 4-0 (11-6, 14-12, 11-6, 11-4)
Round 9
Andras bt Hamache 4-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9)
Kulczycki bt Stumper 4-2 (5-11, 11-5, 14-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9)
Zheng bt Friis 4-0 (11-1, 11-5, 11-4, 11-7)
Kosolosky bt Walsh 4-0 (11-7, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8)
Cavaille bt Rinderer 4-2 (11-4, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 6-11, 11-4)
Junior Girls
Round 7
Luisa Saeger (GER) bt Andreea Dragoman (ROU) 4-3 (5-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6, 2-11, 5-11, 11-8)
Adina Diaconu (ROU) bt Anastasia Kolish (RUS) 4-3 (8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7)
Jennie Wolf (GER) bt Denise Payet (ENG) 4-0 (11-7, 11-1, 11-1, 11-8)
Lisa Lung (BEL) bt Izabela Lupulesku (SRB) 4-3 (11-3, 11-8, 15-13, 5-11, 5-11, 5-11, 11-7)
Tania Plaian (ROU) bt Zhang Xuan (ESP) 4-3 (11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10)
Round 8
Saeger bt Payet 4-1 (11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-2)
Wolf bt Plaian 4-0 (11-7, 11-4, 13-11, 15-13)
Dragoman bt Zhang 4-2 (11-9, 7-11, 13-11, 15-13, 9-11, 11-9)
Lupulesku bt Kolish 4-0 (11-5, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7)
Diaconu bt Lung 4-0 (12-10, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6)
Round 9
Diaconu bt Lupulesku 4-3 (5-11, 5-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9)
Plaian bt Payet 4-2 (14-12, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-6)
Dragoman bt Wolf 4-0 (11-8, 11-6, 11-8, 13-11)
Kolish bt Lung 4-2 (11-13, 5-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-2, 11-6)
Zhang bt Saeger 4-2 (5-11, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4)
Junior Boys
Round 7
Irvin Bertrand (FRA) bt Ioannis Sgouropoulos (GRE) 4-1 (11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 13-11)
Cristian Pletea (ROU) bt Tobias Hippler (GER) 4-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10)
Florian Cnudde (BEL) bt Josh Bennett (ENG) 4-0 (11-0, 11-3, 12-10, 11-8)
Gerrit Engemann (GER) bt Rares Sipos (ROU) 4-2 (11-5, 11-3, 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5)
Bastien Rembert (FRA) bt Matteo Mutti (ITA) 4-1 (11-5, 19-21, 11-5, 11-3, 13-11)
Round 8
Pletea bt Bertrand 4-2 (11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5)
Sipos bt Mutti 4-0 (11-8, 19-17, 11-5, 11-9)
Engemann bt Bennett 4-0 (11-2, 11-8, 11-7, 11-2)
Cnudde bt Rembert 4-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-7, 11-2)
Sgouropoulos bt Hippler 4-3 (11-8, 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 9-11, 13-11)
Round 9
Pletea bt Sgouropoulos 4-0 (11-8, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5)
Bertrand bt Hippler 4-1 (11-1, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9)
Mutti bt Bennett 4-1 (11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10)
Engemann bt Cnudde 4-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 13-11)
Rembert bt Sipos 4-0 (11-8, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7)

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