The runner up in February in the Czech Republic, the following month a surprise semi-finalist in the French National Championships; on Thursday 11th April, the host nation’s Prithika Pavade maintained her quite outstanding run of form.
She won the junior girls’ singles title at the French Junior and Cadet Open in Metz; yet another fine performance and one more factor can be added to the equation. She is only 14 years old.
Occupying the no.4 seeded position, at the final hurdle she overcame Amy Wang of the United States, the top seed, recovering from a two games to nil deficit to secure victory (7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7).
A hard fought success in the title decider, on the second day of play it had been the same en route to the final, in critical situations she responded. In the opening round she beat Italy’s Gaia Monfardini, in seven games (11-5, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6), before rather more comfortably accounting for Germany’s Laura Tiefenbrunner (11-3, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8) to reserve her place in the penultimate round where a most testing adversary awaited.
She faced Japan’s Kaho Akae, the no.6 seed and the winner earlier in the year in Sweden. Moreover, in Metz, Kaho Akae was in form; at the quarter-final stage she had beaten colleague Yuki Tsutsui (11-5, 11-5, 11-5, 4-11, 11-3), the third round winner in opposition to the Czech Republic’s Zdena Blaskova, the no.2 seed (11-5, 11-5, 11-5, 4-11, 11-3). A most worthy opponent, Prithika Pavade responded, in second full distance contest of the day she emerged successful (12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7).
“I’m very happy to win the final, especially I was losing 2-0. My coach helped me to find solutions. I reversed the situation; I’m very satisfied with that. It was very hard for me to play against Amy, she blocks very well; I play with a lot of spin. She has the perfect game to put me in trouble. Technically, I forced her to attack more, she was very nervous at the end of the match. I didn’t expect that she would be so nervous, maybe that’s what made the difference. There was an important moment in the fourth game. I was losing 9-8; my coach took a “Time Out”. Returning to the table, I served well; then at 9-9 I made two very good top spins with my backhand. It was exactly the thing to do. I had already played against her in the last World Junior Championships in Australia. I lost 3-2, that match was also very tight. It’s my first victory in a junior open and it’s particularly good to win here in my country. My objective, arriving here, was to win but I felt no pressure.” Prithika Pavade
The coach in question sitting courtside was Ludovic Rémy, the head coach for the junior girls; naturally he was delighted with the performance of Prithika Pavade.
“It was difficult for Prithika being down 2-1 and 9-8 in the final to turn the match around and finally win was not easy. Moreover, the American player dominated the game and directed the play in the early part of the match without making mistakes. Prithika responded well and managed to put her opponent under pressure.” Ludovic Rémy
A pleased national coach, it was the same response from Nicolas Greiner, her club coach. He was clear it was a reward for effort and dedication.
“Her preparation in Japan a few weeks ago was very positive! It was a very hard preparation; her victory here is the result of her work. She has progressed in her ability to play long rallies with high quality. Also now she has a good balance between forehand and backhand.” Ludovic Rémy
Success and hard earned success, on her journey to the final it was somewhat the same for Amy Wang. After accounting for Julie Pennec, like Prithika Pavade from France (11-4, 13-11, 11-4, 11-7), she needed the full seven games to end the progress of Japan’s Sakura Yokoi (11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5), prior to reserving her place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to Italy’s Jamila Laurenti, the no.3 seed (15-13, 11-3, 13-11, 10-12, 11-2).
Silver for Amy Wang in the junior girls’ singles event, in the junior girls’ doubles it was gold and role reversal. Partnering Crystal Wang, at the final hurdle, the duo accounted for the French partnership of Isa Cok and Berenice Marteau (11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8) to seal the title.
The individual events concluded; the focus now turns to the team competitions.