Vice-champion of 2021 African Championships Hana Goda of Egypt continued her good run at the global level as she struck a landmark achievement on the WTT Youth Series stage, claiming two titles on the final day at WTT Youth Star Contender, tagged Otocec 2022, in Slovenia.
One of the African continent’s hottest young prospects, the 14-year-old was chasing her first WTT U19 Girls’ Singles trophy at the Sport Centre Otocec, and she lived up to the mark. Dropping just a single game from the opening three rounds, Goda enjoyed a trouble-free run to the final.
However, the title match proved another story altogether, with French counterpart Charlotte Lutz posing a more formidable challenge. Leading the scoreboard for a vast portion of the contest, Lutz, 16, held two championship point opportunities in game four, but she was forced to contest the fifth game as Goda’s calm persona kept the tie alive.
Trailing 6-8 in the decider, the Egyptian refused to give up the fight and she was rewarded for her courage, closing out a hard-fought win on a day she’ll never forget (5-11, 11-5, 6-11, 13-11, 11-9).
“My expectations for the Under-19 event were not as high as for the
]Under-15s. I tried to focus match by match and didn’t think about the title. Every player here was really good, so I just aimed to win the next match.” Goda said.]
Charlotte is a really high-level player with a very strong service, and she played very well here. I played my best, and I cried at the end because I was so happy!” She added.
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Goda’s name also emerged above the rest in the U15 Girls’ Singles event. The highest-ranked entry in the draw, the World No.1 proved untouchable on her way to the final with Alesia Sferlea, Leana Hochart, and Lilou Massart all losing out in straight games.
Romania’s Bianca Mei Rosu managed to break the mould by taking the opening game of the final, but there was no stopping Goda, who successfully retained the title she won in 2021 (12-14, 13-11, 11-6, 11-5).
“I knew that the title would most likely go to Bianca or myself. I started the final slowly, and she took the lead. At some point, I started to play more freely and was able to save a few game points in the second game. Bianca is a tough opponent, and I am glad that I managed to win.” Goda added.
Chidi Nwoke/Njidda Usa/ITTF-Africa.