It may have been heartbreak for England’s number 1 Junior, Sam Walker, at the Serbian Junior & Cadet Open last weekend but the 17-year-old has plenty to be proud of after reaching the Junior Boys final in Vrnjacka Banja.
Walker, the 7th seed for the competition, made his way to the final with consecutive victories over the Hungarian pair of Adam Szudi and Marton Szita – the 3rd and 1st seeds respectively.
Firstly, at the quarter-final stage, Walker accounted for Szudi in four confident games 4-0 (11-6, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6) before he won a thrilling seven-game duel with the top seed, Szita to reach the final. He beat the favourite 4-3 (9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 15-13) with that astonishing 28-point game to decide the victor.
In the final, Walker found himself 3-0 down against Russia’s Sadi Ismailov but the plucky Notts boy fought back to level at 3-3. Unfortunately, his comeback meant little as the young Russian stole the deciding game 11-9 to halt Walker’s impressive charge at the final hurdle.
Ismailov claiming the title with a 4-3 (11-7, 12-10, 11-6, 4-11, 8-11, 5-11, 11-9) win.
Also in Serbia there was considerable success for Helshan Weerasinghe who was also competing in the Junior Boys competitions.
While his singles effort was halted in the last 16 by Maxim Efroykin (RUS) 4-2 (11-9, 5-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6), he managed to reach the final of the Junior Boys Doubles with partner Adam Szudi.
However, once again it would be defeat for the Englishman in the final as he and Szudi were beaten by the Hungarian pair of Nandor Ecseki and Marton Szita 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-4).