Maruthapandian Leads Podium Charge for Successful US Campaign in Canada

By Matt Hetherington | June 01, 2018, 2:28 a.m. (ET)

As the 2018 Canadian Cadet and Junior Open came to a close there were many successes for the US team, but it was Lavanya Maruthapandian who stood head and shoulders above her peers as she took the highest honors in the Cadet Girls Singles event. 

The win was not without it's intense and nailbiting moments as Maruthapandian battled her way to the title, she passed through two 5-game obstacles on her way. In her opening main draw round she accounted for the home side's Kelly Zhao in three straight games, before moving on to face her next big trial. Emine Ernst from the Netherlands, currently ranked in the top 50 under 15 girls in the world and 2nd seed for the event, would prove more than a challenge. 

Maruthapandian held the advantage 1-0 and again at 2-1, but Ernst continued to fight back. The fifth game would be a pure battle of will as it extended to deuce, the nerve of both players would be tested. Alas it was the American from ICC, Milipitas, who would upset her European opponent and advance into the semifinal. 

In the semifinals she would surpass Swathi Giri of Swan Warriors TTC, who had impressed by defeating Canada's Benita Zhou in a hard fought 5 game showdown, winning both of the last two games to guarantee a medal, Lavanya Maruthapandian headed into the final. 

In the final she would meet another familiar face in Sabrina Zhu from AITTA. Zhu had a more comfortable journey into the final, registering 3-1 wins over Ivy Bao and Isabelle Xiong. 

In the final Lavanya took off to an early lead, the experience of being in a final clearly helping. For in Australia last year she brought home 4 golds, and in Canada she was hungry to add to that collection. Maruthapandian, a player who mixes spin and power off both wings, took a 2-0 lead, just one game from victory. 

Sabrina Zhu had other plans and made a last ditch effort to fight her way back in, she stole away the next 2 games and forced a tiebreaker. Another tight match, and again right down to the wire. Once again Lavanya Maruthapandian proved her ability to perform under pressure and 12-10 she swept away the crucial final two points. A gold medal well earned from a young player with a bright future in the sport. 

"Winning the event was really exhilarating, playing against multiple tough opponents and then being able to clutch it in the end was a pretty great feeling!" - Lavanya Maruthapandian, USA.

Now with two Cadet Girls Singles titles behind her on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, the hard work is paying off. Congratulations Lavanya!

The US Team had a great tournament and achieved the following results: 

Gold - Junior Boys Team Event - Sharon and Gal Alguetti
Gold - Cadet Girls Singles Event - Lavanya Maruthapandian
Silver - Cadet Girls Singles Event - Sabrina Zhu
Silver - Junior Boys Singles Event - Michael Tran
Silver - Cadet Boys Singles Event - Sid Naresh
Silver - Cadet Boys Team Event - Sid Naresh and Ted Li
Bronze - Junior Girls Singles Event - Sabrina Zhu
Bronze - Junior Boys Singles Event - Sharon Alguetti
Bronze - Cadet Boys Team Event - Jayden Zhou and Aditya Godhwani, Alexander Wu and Kai Zarehbin
Bronze - Cadet Girls Singles Event - Swathi Giri
Bronze - Junior Boys Team Event - Victor Liu and Michael Tran
Bronze - Cadet Boys Singles - Daniel Ng
Bronze - Cadet Girls Team Event - Swathi Giri and Emily Tan

Well done to all players on putting your best foot forward and bringing home results you can be proud of!