India’s Diya Chitale hit a high note at the Croatia Junior and Cadet Open at Varazdin, Croatia, clinching bronze in the Cadet Girls’ (Under 15) team event on Saturday evening.
Diya teamed up with Russia’s Liubov Tentser to go all the way to the semi-finals in a highly competitive field. The duo however ran into the top Chinese Taipei pair of Feng-en Cai and Ci-Xuan Chen at this stage and lost 0-3.
Liubov began promisingly against Feng-en, winning the first game 11-7. But then Feng-en came back strongly to win the next three games 11-9, 11-2, 11-5. Diya put up a better fight, taking Ci-Xuan to five games. She won the second and fourth games and to stay in the match, and was neck and neck in the fifth game too. She eventually lost 2-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-4, 9-11.
Diya gave a good account of herself in the junior girls’ category too, winning three qualifying matches to make it to the main draw. She has reached the quarter-finals in the Cadet Girls’ Singles as well and will be playing later tonight.
Diya, the only Indian in fray in this prestigious event, began her campaign by overcoming Bulgaria’s Miroslava Andronova 3-1 (12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8). She then beat Czech’s Kristyna Penkavova by a similar margin (11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-4) before facing her first big challenge in this tournament. Hojin Lee of Korea took a 2-1 lead, winning the first and third games: 14-12 and 11-7.
But Diya, who took the second game 11-5, was back in full flow and clinched the tie by claiming the fourth and fifth games: 11-3, 11-9.
She overcame Liubov Tentser in the Round of 64, but lost to Wong Chin Yau of Hong Kong despite winning the first two games (11-8, 11-6) and leading 10-9 in the third. She was beaten 11-13 in the third and 9-11 and 4-11 in the last two games.