by Simon Daish
Heading the seeding list for the Junior Boys’ Singles competition in Metz is Irvin Bertrand of France, while fellow compatriot Jules Rolland has been seeded second for the category putting France as one of the early favourites to perform well in the competition.
Irvin Bertrand will be participating in his first Junior Circuit event of 2017 when he takes to the table in Metz and will be feeling confident about his chances of success.
Not only did the French player secure a top eight finish at the 2016 European Youth Championships hosted in Zagreb, Croatia but he also went on to reach the last 16 at the Sun International 2016 World Junior Championships in Cape Town, South Africa.
While Jules Rolland missed out on claiming Boys’ Singles silverware on the 2016 Junior Circuit he did make semi-final appearances at the 2016 Belgium Junior and Cadet Open and 2016 Hungarian Junior and Cadet Open, and his second position seeding will see his name move straight into the main draw in Metz alongside Irvin Bertrand.
Another French player to keep an eye out for is Leo De Nodrest who was in impressive form last year at the 2016 French Junior and Cadet Open when he managed to obtain a spot in the Junior Boys’ Singles quarter-finals, but sitting one position outside of the top eight in the seeding list De Nodrest will have to negotiate the qualifying group stage.
Laurens Devos was one of the standout names in 2016 when he not only picked up the Male Para Star Award at the 2016 ITTF Star Awards in Doha, but was also named the Belgian Paralympian of 2016 after he won the Men’s Singles Class 9 gold medal at Rio 2016.
Belgium’s Devos will enter the Metz main draw automatically due to his sixth place seeding, while the Czech Republic’s Jiri Martinko, Japan’s Aoto Asazu, Abdullah Yigenler of Turkey and the French duo of Remi Menand and Bastien Rembert round off the top eight seeding positions.
Two players who will be looking to cause an upset in the Junior Boys’ Singles competition are Azerbaijan’s Yang Xinyu and Wang Chenxi.
Yang Xinyu and Wang Chenxi defied the odds in Hodonin to reach the Junior Boys’ Singles final at the 2017 Czech Junior and Cadet Open; both players will looking to produce similar performances in France.