Lai Yi-Yao outstanding in Junior Boys' Team event
Photo By: Thomas Nguyen
2012 Guatemala Junior & Cadet Open - ITTF Junior Circuit
Present in both Thailand and the United States earlier this year on the ITTF Junior Circuit, Chinese Taipei’s Lai Yi-Yao was the man of the moment in the Junior Boys’ Team event at the Guatemala Junior and Cadet Open in Guatemala City on Friday 10th August 2012.
He remained unbeaten throughout, as in harness with New Zealand’s Kevin Wu, the top step of the podium was reserved.
The duo posted a three-nil semi-final win over Puerto Rico’s Brandon Echevarria and Ricardo Jimenez to book their place in the final, where they confronted the Sweden ‘A’ Team duo of Simon Berglund and Jonas Stener, a pair undoubtedly in good form.
At the penultimate stage, they had beaten Jan Medina and Daniel Fuenmayor by three matches to nil.
Comfortable semi-final wins but the final was quite the reverse; the duel went the full distance with Lai Yi-Yao, the hero.
He beat Jonas Stener in the opening duel of the fixture (11-3, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7), before in the concluding and deciding contest, with scores level at two matches apiece, he overcame Simon Berglund (11-8, 10-12, 11-4, 11-9).
Sandwiched in between, he joined forces with Kevin Wu to secure the doubles contest against Simon Berglund and Jonas Stener in four games (9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9); a win that with hindsight was to prove pivotal.
The two wins for Sweden both came at the expense of Kevin Wu.
Simon Berglund overcame the New Zealander (11-5, 11-6, 11-6) in the second match of the contest; whilst Jonas Stener succeeded in the fourth duel in a similar manner (11-9, 11-9, 11-6).
Same in Cadet Boys’ Team
Success for the top seeds against the second seeds in the final of the Junior Boys’ Team event and it was the same in the Cadet Boys’ Team competition.
Selecting from Utkarsh Gupta, Birdie Boro and Larin Puia; India reached the final by recording three-nil victories at both the quarter and semi-final stages.
In the round of the last eight teams, they beat the outfit formed by Guatemala’s Camilo Cordero and Ecuador’s Marlon Vite before in the penultimate round defeating the partnership of Aarsh Shah and Theodore Tran from the United States.
A place in the final booked, the adversaries were Chinese Taipei’s Chen Yen-Heng and Huang Chien-Tu, who had not experienced the same trouble free path to the final.
They had posted a comfortable three-nil quarter-final win over United States ‘B’ Team of Krishnateja Avvari and Aashay Patel but had been stretched the full distance in the semi-finals by Anirban Ghosh and Lalhunlua of India ‘B’.
Anirban Ghosh Caused Problems
Anirban Ghosh was the player to cause the problems.
He beat both Chen Yen-Heng (11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 11-7) and Huang Chien-Tu (6-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6) but that was to prove his team’s only success. Lalhunlua was beaten by both Huang Chien-Tu (12-10, 11-8, 11-5) and by Chen Yen-Heng (11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-3), with the doubles also going the way of Chinese Taipei.
Chen Yen-Heng and Huang Chien-Tu beat Lalhunlua and Ayush Tayal (11-9, 8-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-6).
A close fought semi-final and it was an equally close fought final with Huang Chien-Tu the man in form for Chinese Taipei. He accounted for both Birdie Boro (11-7, 12-10, 11-2) and Utkarsh Gupta (11-8, 11-13, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8) but alas Chen Yen-Heng could not emulate his efforts.
He was beaten by Utkarsh Gupta (11-3, 13-15, 11-4, 13-11) and in the concluding match of the contest by Birdie Boro (7-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-3, 11-5), whilst also suffering in the doubles, in what proved the determining contest.
Birdie Boro and Utkarsh Gupta beat Chen Yen-Heng and Huang Chien-Tu by the very narrowest of five game margins (5-11, 11-6, 13-11, 3-11, 13-11).