by Simon Daish
Under 21 Men’s Singles
Tomokazu Harimoto has already grabbed many headlines in his relatively short table tennis career to date having become the youngest player ever to progress to the first round of the Men’s Singles at an ITTF World Tour competition as a result of his performance at the 2015 Polish Open, alongside his Under 21 gold medal achieved at the 2016 Japan Open.
However, despite being named as the top seed for the Under 21 Men’s Singles tournament at the 2016 Austrian Open in Linz, Harimoto was subject to a shock quarter-final defeat at the hands of France’s Enzo Angles.
There were no signs of any real problems at the start of the match for Harimoto, who is just 13 years of age, after he successfully secured the opening end but his opponent was in inspirational form and the capture of three successive games saw Angles comfortably move through to the last four of the competition (8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7).
Next up for Enzo Angles is a semi-finals clash with Kirill Gerassimenko (seeded 14th); four games were required for Gerassimenko to negotiate his tie against Korea’s 11th seed Kim Minhyeok. Kazakhstan’s Gerassimenko will be feeling positive about his chances of reaching the final, but another top-drawer showing from Angles could potentially set up a thrilling showdown between the two semi-finalists.
France will have a second contestant competing in the last four after Can Akkuzu (eighth) overcame his fellow compatriot Alexandre Robinot 3-1, and is set to take on Korea Republic’s Park Ganghyeon (sixth) who managed to see off Kilian Ort of Germany in the quarter-finals.
Under 21 Women’s Singles
The Under 21 Women’s Singles event will see Japan represented in the final, as two of their players prepare to go head-to-head in the semi-finals.
25th seed Mizuki Morizono astounded the crowd at the 2016 Austrian Open with her straight games win against Singapore’s Zeng Jian (second seed) in the Round of 32, before rounding off day three with victories over Hong Kong’s Mak Tze Wing and seventh seed Miyu Maeda.
Awaiting Morizono in the penultimate round is another Japanese competitor Sakura Mori; the no.6 seed Mori was able to eliminate Korean player Choi Hyojoo (third) across four narrow games (11-9, 13-11, 11-13, 11-9) in their quarter-finals encounter.
The top half of the quarter-finals draw saw demonstrations of two comeback masterclasses, as Doo Hoi Kem and Tamolwan Khetkhuan edged into the next stage of the category.
Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Thailand’s Tamolwan Khetkhuan both fell two-nil behind in their respective matches with Singapore’s Lin Ye and Hong Kong’s Soo Wai Yam Minnie but perseverance and sheer determination saw Doo and Khetkhuan pull off fantastic recoveries and the two contestants will now face one another on the fourth day of the Open for a place in the Under 21 final.
Friday 11th November: Under 21 Men’s Singles – Main Draw
Friday 11th November: Under 21 Women’s Singles – Main Draw