by Simon Daish
Rabat 2013 was the most recent World Junior Championships which saw a contestant from Korea Republic reach the Boys’ Singles final, and coincidentally that was also the tournament which saw the country’s Jang Woojin claim the trophy.
Now three years later and another opportunity presents itself for Korean success after Cho Seungmin advanced beyond the last four with a 4-1 victory over the No.11 seed Ng Pak Nam of Hong Kong.
Cho Seungmin and Ng Pak Nam had previously met at the 2016 Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Bangkok, Thailand where the player from Korea picked up a 3-0 win in the Junior Boys’ Team category and once again it was Cho Seungmin who prevailed by a three game margin in their meeting in Cape Town after the No.2 seed comfortably moved through to the final with a win in five ends (11-5, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7).
“I am happy winning my semi-final match but I am nervous going into the final against Harimoto. My target is beat him and that is what I am aiming at. I know most players find it difficult to return my service and I hope Harimoto will also find it hard” – Cho Seungmin (Korea Republic).
The other player through to the final is Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto after the top seeded contestant overcame Yang Shuo of China in six ends.
Yang Shuo went into the tie knowing regardless of the result that he had performed well in the Boys’ Singles category in Cape Town, finishing well above his seeding position of 23rd for the competition, but with China having been represented in the seven previous Boys’ Singles finals the pressure was on Yang Shuo to extend his country’s run of good form at the Championships.
Top seed Harimoto didn’t waste any time in establishing an early lead in the semi-final taking the opening game by a five point margin, and then the Japanese star dented his opponent’s hopes even further by claiming the following two games in deuce to move three games clear.
Trailing 3-0 Yang raised his performance and the Chinese player managed to claw his way back into the match with the capture of games four and five, however, Harimoto made the perfect response and the 13-year-old went on to take the sixth end to seal a 4-2 win (11-6, 12-10, 13-11, 9-11, 10-12, 11-3).
“Harimoto was playing his usual form today, but I wasn’t. I think the main reason for the defeat is still with experience, he’s more experienced than me in playing international tournaments like this. I wasn’t able to perform and play to my advantage in the match just now” – Yang Shuo (China) after suffering a semi-finals exit to Tomokazu Harimoto.