by Simon Daish
Cho Seungmin and Kim Jiho went into the day as the highest seeded partnership from Korea Republic competing at the World Junior Championships. Sitting in fifth position in the seeding table, and following a comfortable victory in the Round of 64, the Korean duo recovered from a game down to defeat Chinese Taipei’s Huang Chien-Tu and Wen Ruei-Ling in the last 32 of the event.
Placed 26th in the Mixed Doubles seeding table, Huang Chien-Tu and Wen Ruei-Ling went into the match against Cho Seungmin and Kim Jiho well aware of the challenge lying ahead. Despite the Chinese Taipei pairing taking the early initiative in the tie with a strong showing in the opening game, it was the partnership of Cho Seungmin and Kim Jiho which claimed a place in the last 32 with a fourth game victory (7-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7).
The two other duos from Korea Republic to move through to the next round were Cho Daeseong and Kim Youjin and the pairing of An Jaehyun and Kang Dayeon.
Cho Daeseong and Kim Youjin ran out comfortable winners against Canada’s Moxi Guo and Justina Yeung (11-9, 11-3, 11-9). However, An Jaehyun and Kang Dayeon experienced more difficulty in their encounter as Feng Yi-Hsin and Chen Ying-Chen of Chinese Taipei pushed the Korean pair all the way to the final game (4-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9) before meeting an unfortunate exit from the competition.
There was a big shock in the bottom half of the draw as the No.2 seeds Yuto Kizukuri and Mima Ito of Japan were eliminated in the Round of 32. Yuto Kizukuri and Mima Ito made a slow start to the match as China’s Xu Yingbin and Sun Yizhen moved 0-2 in front. Even though the second seeds managed to claim back-to-back ends, it was the pairing of Xu Yingbin and Sun Yizhen (7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11) which moved through to the next stage.
“In the decider, we were really tired, but we held on, I think the Japanese pair were tired as well so we both made some mistakes. When we were trailing 3-7 in that game, we had to change the placement of the ball, and Kizukuri wasn’t able to return the ball back on the table. He got nervous in the end, and we held on to the chance to win the match” – Xu Yingbin (China) speaking after he and partner Sun Yizhen knocked out Yuto Kizukuri and Mima Ito.
The other duel between pairs from Japan and China came at the very top of the draw and this time the higher seeded team prevailed: Tomokazu Harimoto and Miu Hirano were named as the top seeds heading into the tournament, and the Japanese duo overcame the 24th seeds from China Yang Shuo and Shi Xunyao without dropping a single game (11-8, 15-13, 13-11).