by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Kazhakstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko is the top seed in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event; he is followed by Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri, Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic and Romania’s Cristian Pletea.
Earlier this year on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour, Kirill Gerassimenko won in Hungary but last week on the Challenge Series in Slovenia he was beaten in the opening round by Japan’s Yuki Matsuyama. Notably Yuki Matsuyama progressed to win the title overcoming Russia’s Sadi Ismailov in the final.
Meanwhile, for Yuto Kizukuri, most recently he was the runner up on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour in Korea, losing to the host nation’s Lim Jonghoon, who is not present in Zagreb. However, earlier in the year at the Challenge Series tournament in Belarus, when again the runner up, his nemesis is present; he was beaten in the final by Cristian Pletea.
In Zagreb, Sadi Ismailov is the no.12 seed, Yuki Matsuyama is the no.17 seed; both receive direct entries to the main draw and will be seeking to repeat the form shown in Slovenia. Somewhat conversely for Darko Jorgic, he will be hoping for better fortunes than experienced on home soil; in Otocec he was somewhat surprisingly beaten in the opening round of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event by England’s Luke Savill.
Meanwhile, in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, Japan’s Saki Shibata followed by Romania’s Adina Diaconu, Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz and Germany’s Nina Mittelham occupy the respective top four seeded places.
Saki Shibata emerged as the winner at the ITTF Challenge Series tournaments in Belarus and Thailand, before losing last week in the final to Adriana Diaz in Slovenia.
Success for Saki Shibata and Adriana Diaz in 2017; likewise Adina Diaconu has enjoyed success; just under one month ago she won the Junior Girls’ Singles title at the Tunisia Junior and Cadet Open.
Alas for Nina Mittelham, her situation is not too dissimilar to that of Darko Jorgic; last week in Otocec, she was beaten in the opening round of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event by Belgium’s Nathalie Marchetti.
Notably, 88 players have entered the Under 21 Men’s Singles event; 66 players are listed in the Under 21 Women’s Singles competition.