01 Dec 2016

Top seeds Japan avoided a shock defeat at the hands of the Czech Republic on day two of the Sun International 2016 World Junior Table Tennis Championships on Thursday 1st December in Cape Town, South Africa as Tomokazu Harimoto's brace helped the Japanese team secure a 3-2 victory to move into first position in group A in the second stage of the Boys Team event.

by Simon Daish

The Czech Republic went into the match having already participated in two group encounters on the opening day of the tournament which saw the ninth seeds claim 3-0 victories over Australia and Brazil, and the Czech team gave another good account of themselves against Japan in the second stage of the competition.

Patrik Klos was first up for the Czech Republic and despite falling 2-0 behind to his Japanese opponent Yuto Kizukuri, the Czech player fought back and stole three consecutive ends to give the European side the lead (11-9, 11-5, 12-10, 12-10, 11-8).

Yet Japan made a strong response to the opening defeat as Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuki Matsuyama saw off Tomas Polansky (11-6, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8) and Jiri Martinko (8-11, 11-7, 13-15, 11-7, 11-8) respectively to put Japan ahead after the conclusion opening three matches.

Just one more match win was required to see Japan take the two group points, but the Czech Republic kept believing in their abilities and forced a deciding fifth tie with Tomas Polansky’s 1-3 success against Yuto Kizukuri (6-11, 8-11, 11-5, 3-11).

However, Tomokazu Harimoto broke Czech hearts after he picked up his second win of the match with a straight games victory over Patrik Klos (11-5, 11-7, 11-5) to give Japan the early points advantage in group A.

“This is my first World Junior Championships and I was a bit nervous in my match because I wanted to win to be able to help the team. I am happy that we won at last. Even though I am rated number one for this tournament, I am not thinking of that because my target is to win the Team, Singles, Mixed Doubles and Doubles events” – Tomokazu Harimoto (Japan).

The French squad have made a positive start to their World Championships campaign, following a 3-0 triumph over Belgium in their group D opener.

Alexandre Cassin gave France the perfect start with a straight games win against Thibaut Darcis (11-8, 15-13, 11-4), and with Joe Seyfried and Irvin Bertrand defeating Florian Cnudde (11-6, 11-8, 13-11) and Laurens Devos (10-12, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8) it was France who moved to the summit of the group.

Elsewhere, China and Korea Republic both registered comfortable wins as the Asian countries ran out 3-0 victors over Italy and the USA in groups B and C respectively.

Sun International 2016 World Junior Championships: Day Two Quotes

World Junior Championships Tomokazu Harimoto Yuto Kizukuri Yuki Matsuyama

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