It may well have been the 17th birthday of Choi Deok Hwa but from Chinese Taipei’s Hung Tzu-Hsiang there were no presents on Sunday 22nd January 2012 for the Korean.
The top seed, Hung Tzu-Hsiang justified his exalted position in the draw, to clinch the Boys’ Singles title at the ITTF Junior Circuit Finals in the splendid setting of the Puerto Rico Convention Center.
He recovered from an opening game deficit to record a five games victory; determined and totally focesed he achieved his goal winning 7-11, 13-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-6.
Better Start It was Choi Deok Hwa who made the better start; Hung Tzu-Hsiang making errors against the heavy backspin play of the Korean, who when the opportunity arose was quick to attack with his forehand.
Hung Tzu-Hsiang could not find a rhythm.
Penetrating the solid defence of the Korean was the problem for Hung Tzu-Hsiang who tended executed controlled top spins early in the rally as opposed to fearsome attacking strokes more associated with Asian players.
Showed Character In the second game Choi Deok Hwa established an early lead but, as was demonstrated the previous evening when Hung Tzu-Hsiang saved four match points to beat Egypt’s Mohamed Shouman, he is a young man of character.
He levelled proceedings at 9-all; then he saved one game point before securing the game 13-11 to level matters.
Dominant Win a close game and the adage says that confidence blossoms; in the case of Hung Tzu-Hsiang that was undoubtedly true.
Totally focused, determined to eliminate unforced errors, he raced into a 9-1 lead in the third game; he was becoming more accustomed to the heavy backspin play from the Korean, the errors, the tentative nature in the opening game had disappeared.
Establishing a Lead Establish a lead and Hung Tzu-Hsiang blossomed confidence, in the early stages of the fourth game he was unable to command proceedings. He made mistakes but then eradicated the errors.
Attacking the forehand of Choi Deok Hwa with heavy top spin strokes or unleashing a rapier-like forehand top spins to the body brought success; he established a 6-4 lead and maintained the advantage to secure the game.
He was one game away from gold.
Choi Deok Hwa the Boys’ Singles silver medallist Photo by Quique Aparici
Few Attacks In the first game, Choi Deok Hwa had defended admirably but he had also been effective when attacking from the forehand.
However, in the second, third and fourth games such attacks were a rarity.
Time Out In the fifth game Hung Tzu-Hsiang moved ahead 6-3; Choi Deok Hwa elected for “Time Out”.
Alas for the Korean, the break worked more in favour of Hung Tzu-Hsiang; at 10-4 he held six match points but as so often happens, the point that ensures victory is the hardest point of all to win and so it proved for Hung Tzu-Hsiang.
Settled Nerves Choi Deok Hwa won the next two points, to settle the nerves Hung Tzu-Hsiang called “Time Out” with the score at 10-6.
The break worked, Hung Tzu-Hsiang returned, won the next point and celebrated.
He had followed in the footsteps of colleague, Chen Szu-Yu, who one match earlier had won the Girls’ Singles event.
Signed Sealed and Delivered Chen Szu-Yu had delivered, so had Hung Tzu-Hsiang; a golden day, happy memories of Puerto Rico for Chinese Taipei.
Visit itTV for Interview with Huang Tzu-Hsiang For interview with Huang Tzu-Hsiang, click on itTV and go to the channel Juniors, interviews on left hand side menu under 2011 ITTF Global Cadet Challenge and Global Junior Circuit - Interviews