PETROL Balkan Champs Finals Day
From Ljubljana, Marko Podgoršek reports
Sunday, September 30th was the last day of play at the PETROL Balkan Squash Championships with players from 4 countries (out of 6 participating) competing for medals.
Girls U19 final was a neighbourly dispute between Franka Vidovič from Croatia (1st seed) and Nika Urh from Slovenia (3rd seed). Match was really contested only in the 2nd game, which Franka took 13/11, winning the match in the 3rd in 26 minutes. Pika Rupar (Slovenia) beat Zeynep Kabakci (Turkey) 3/1 in the bronze medal match.
In Boys U19 category first seed Blaž Porenta (Slovenia) left nothing to chance, beating Bogdan Catalin Vasile (Romania) 3/0. Third place match was entirely Romanian with Radu Stefan Pena beating Goian Dumitru in straight games.
Women +35 category had already beed decided on Saturday. Nada Bambič (Slovenia) took the gold, beating Mojca Blažič (Slovenia). Third place went to Romania’s Ana Nemedi.
Men +35 category complemented the home crowd as a late entry Janez Makovec (Slovenia) beat no. 1 seed Petar Galeković (Croatia) in straight games. 3rd place match went according to the seedings with Vedran Švonja (Croatia) beating George Alexandru Constantinescu (Romania) 3/0.
Finals in both Men and Women categories were the same as last year, but Croatia didn’t repeat a clean sweep. In women’s final Sara Rojnik (Slovenia) took only 22 minutes to get her revenge against Paulina Radoš (Croatia) in straight games. Esma Kabakci (Turkey) took the 3rd place.
And if the women’s final pleased the home crowd, men’s final did not. Martin Kegel (Croatia) fought yet again against Slovenia’s national champion Martin Mošnik. Match was highly entertaining but unfortunately it went on only for three games, Kegel winning all three of them.
Judging by the participants feedback PETROL Balkan Squash Championships was a great success and we are looking forward to welcoming even more of Balkan’s finest again next year in Squashland.
Days one and two
Marko Podgoršek reports from Ljubljana
After an afternoon of preliminary matches on Friday, the PETROL Balkan Championships really took off on Saturday morning at Ljubljana’s Squashland with 74 players from 6 countries fighting for the title in 6 categories.
The Men’s category went according to the seeding with top four seeds dropping only two games between them on their way to the semifinals. Top seeds prevailed at that stage too with Croatia’s Martin Kegel (1) and Slovenia’s Martin Mošnik (2) setting up a replay of the last year’s final.
The Women’s category has seen the top four seeds progress to the semifinals from the round-robin stage as well, both of the semifinals ending in straight games. Nina Kustec (Slovenia) bowed out against Paulina Radoš (Croatia) while Sara Rojnik (Slovenia) despatched the 19-year old Esma Kabakci (Turkey). That gives Sara Rojnik a chance for a revenge for her defeat in last year’s final, when Paulina Radoš prevailed in a thriller of a match (20/18 in the 3rd).
Boys U19 category has seen the biggest upset in the tournament with the Romania’s 17-year old Radu Stefan Pena upsetting 3rd and 6th seed to reach the semis, before finally succumbing to his countryman Bogdan Catalin Vasile. Slovenia’s Blaž Porenta will be his opponent in the final, where he cruised undisturbed without dropping a game.
Girls U19 draw shows an identical lineup country-wise as the women’s. Croatia’s 15-year old Franka Vidovič will take on Slovenia’s Nika Urh for the gold, while Zeynep Kabakci of Turkey and Pika Rupar of Slovenia contest for the last place on the podium.
Slovenia and Croatia ended on top in the Men’s over 35 category as well with top seeds Petar Galeković (Croatia) and Janez Makovec (Slovenia) reaching the final. Bronze medal shall go either to Vedran Švonja (Croatia) or George Alexandru Constantinescu (Romania).
Women’s over 35 category already ended on Saturday after a day of single-group round-robin matches. Nada Bambič (Slovenia) is the new Balkan Champion with Mojca Blažič (Slovenia) taking the silver and Ana Nemedi (Romania) taking the bronze.
We are looking forward to Sunday’s finals and playoffs for places, before we start cheering for Slovenia’s volleyball players contesting the final of the European Championship in the afternoon. Quite fitting, considering the Slovenian team has the same title sponsor as the Balkan Squash Championship: PETROL.