by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success and landmark win; the first ever all-Azerbaijan ITTF World Junior Circuit Boys’ Singles final and thus the first such champion from the country that hosted the 2015 European Games.
However, Wang Chenxi and Yang Xinyu are no strangers to international competition.
At the 2016 French Junior and Cadet Open in Metz, they were the runners up in the Cadet Boys’ Team event. Notably at the semi-final stage they beat Japan’s Takeru Kashima and Yu Kayama by three matches to two, before in the final experiencing a three-one defeat at the hands of Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko and Maxim Grebnev.
Furthermore, later in the year at the European Youth Championships in Zagreb, Wang Chenxi and Yang Xinyu emerged as Cadet Boys’ Team bronze medallists, prior to performing equally creditably in the Cadet Boys’ Singles event. Wang Chenxi progressed the quarter-final stage losing to Sweden’s Truls Moregardh; Yang Xinyu departed one round earlier, he was beaten by Maxim Grebnev.
The second day of action on Hodonin
In Hodonin, in the latter rounds, Yang Xinyu accounted for Denmark’s Andreas Dilling, the no.3 seed, at the quarter-final stage (11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7), before overcoming Germany’s Gerritt, the top seed (11-7, 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7) to reach the final.
Similarly, in the opposite half of the draw, Wang Chenxi ended the hopes of highly seeded adversaries. In the round of the last eight he defeated the host nation’s Jiri Martinko, the no.2 seed (4-11, 11-6, 11-2, 18-20, 11-9, 11-8), prior to reserving his place in the final by ending the progress of Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica, the no.5 seed (11-7, 11-4, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7).
A surprise Junior Boys’ Singles champion, it was the same in the Junior Boys’ Doubles competition.
Poland’s Artur Grela and Kamil Nepal, the no.7 seeds, secured the top prize; at the final hurdle they beat the combination formed by Sweden’s Martin Friis and Austria’s Maciej Kolodziejczyk, the no.8 seed (11-3, 1-6, 8-11, 11-7).
One round earlier, in the semi-final duels, Artur Grela and Kamil Nepal had beaten Portugal’s Vitor Amorin and José Pedro Francisco, the no.10 seeds (11-4, 11-7, 11-6); Martin Friis and Maciej Kolodziejczyk had ousted newcomers to the international scene, Japan’s Haruki Miyamoto and Hiroto Shinozuka (7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4).
Attention now focuses on the team events; in the Junior Boys’ Team competition, Wang Chenxi and Yang Xinyu line up alongside colleague Vazir Allahverdiyev; they the no.16 seeds.
Germany’s Gerritt Engemann, Meng Fanbo, Kay Stumper and Jannik Xu occupy the top seeded position.