In what must be a first for either the ITTF Pro Tour or ITTF Junior Circuit, and possibly for any international tournament since time in memoriam, a partnership comprising a New Zealander and a Swede captured top honours in table tennis team event.
The pairing in question is New Zealand’s Phillip Xiao and Sweden’s Hampus Soderlund. They joined forces to win the Boys’ Team event at the Malta Junior Open in Cospicua on Friday 13th March 2009 beating Spain’s Alvaro Robles and Ferran Brugada at the final hurdle.
Soderlund Unbeaten Backbone of the success was Hampus Soderlund; he remained unbeaten throughout.
Against Luxembourg in the quarter-finals he overcame Jan Thews and Sven Hansen, whilst partnering Phillip Xiao to doubles success in a three matches to one victory. The one success for Luxembourg came from the racket of Sven Hansen; he beat Phillip Xiao in five games.
Familiar Score Line Similarly against the Netherlands in the semi-finals and against Spain in the final, it was three-one victories with Soderlund the star performer.
He beat both Pepijn Leppers and Thomas Benit whilst teaming with Phillip Xiao to secure doubles success; the sole win for the defeated coming from Pepijn Leppers in the opening match of he contest against Phillip Xiao.
Final In the final, as in the preceding matches it was Phillip Xiao who suffered the only reverse for the victors. He was beaten by Alvaro Robles but a doubles win by the very narrowest of five game margins and wins for Soderlund over Robles and Ferran Brugada secured victory.
Cypriot Causes Spain Problems At the semi-final stage, top seeds Spain had ousted Cyprus in a contest where Marios Yiangou showed his class. He beat both Alvaro Robles and Ferran Brugada but a doubles reverse and defeats for Yiangos Yiangou cost the Cypriots dear.