Toma Junior Popov in action during qualification in Tallinn
Popov cruises into main draw in Tallinn
Date: 1/12/2017 7:40 PM
Published by : Mark Phelan
A couple of short months ago Toma Junior Popov was the last man standing for Europe at the World Juniors in Spain and today in Tallinn the young Frenchman proved once again he is a star in the making blowing away all before him on qualification day. 

Popov (main picture) came through the tough three round qualification process without dropping a set seeing off Julius Von Pfaler (FIN), Elias Bracke (BEL) & Karan Rajarajan (IND) to book his main draw berth.

Popov will now slot into the top half of the draw and will be favourite against fellow qualifier Joonas Korhonen of Finland in tomorrow’s main draw first round. Looking down the line The French powerhouse will eye up a potential quarter final against home hero Raul Must once of course he can shake off the trauma of a three-match qualifying day. 

Team France also advanced Vincent Medina to the main draw and there was a welcome return to circuit duties for Mattias Wigardt as the Swede rolled back the years to make it through the day and will now face Anatoliy Yartzev of Russia in round one tomorrow. 

Kuuba & Marran bolster Estonian main draw women’s singles participation 

Kristin Kuuba and Kati-Kreet Marran were hotly tipped to make it through qualification today and join Getter Saar in tomorrow’s main draw. Both Kuuba and Marran were seeded 1 & 4 and came through some tough test en route to the elite end of the tournament.

Kuuba had a tough opening game against Lesnaya of Ukraine and looked dead and buried trailing 17-11 in the deciding game. Kuuba managed to draw level at 17-17 and for a second time had to battle back after the Ukrainian took the next two points to lead 19-17. 

The Estonians cool head and calm demeanour came to the fore at the end of the deciding set as she rattled off three points without reply to take the match and move to the first round proper where she will now meet Alesia Zaitzava of Belarus. 

“It was a tough match against Lesnaya today but I am happy to come through and win” said Kuuba “For the rest of the tournament I would like to play well tomorrow in the main draw in singles and we would like to get at least a semi-final in our women’s doubles to try and get close to our final last year” 

Marran (pictured above) was also taken to three games in her final qualification match against Nastja Stovanje of Slovenia. Marran had a minor brain freeze towards the end of the second game but proved her talent to come storming back in the third set with a 21-7 victory.

The Tall Estonian will now play Ronja Sterne of Switzerland in round 1 tomorrow with Marran and Kuuba scheduled to meet at the quarter finals stages should they both manage to come through tomorrows double rounded day 1 of singles. 

It was a decent day for France also thanks to women’s singles qualification wins for Marie Batomene and Margot Lambert while Anna Hald rolled back the years to take her main draw spot. The 2009 European junior champion will face Ana Marija Setina in tomorrow’s first round proper. 

For all results from day 1 in Tallinn click HERE

To view a photo gallery from today’s play click HERE

Article and images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe

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