by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Notably the fine performance comes after one year ago on Thursday 5th May, Koyo Kanamitsu won the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the 2016 Spanish Junior and Cadet Open. He won in Platja d’Aro when beating colleague Yukiya Uda in the final, the player against whom had experienced defeat one week earlier in Portugal.
The win in Platja d’Aro was an early birthday present. Could it be the same again in Zagreb? On Saturday 6th May he will celebrate his 17th birthday.
At the semi-final stage Koyo Kanamitsu meets Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko, the top seed; in the opposite half of the draw, Yuto Kizukuri, also from Japan and the no.2 seed, opposes the Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky, the no.5 seed.
Imposing from Koyo Kanamitsu, it was the same from Yuto Kizukuri. After beating Belgium’s Martin Allegro, the no.9 seed, in round three (11-6, 11-8, 11-7), he overcame Russia’s Sadi Ismailov, the no.12 seed (9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7) in the round of the last eight.
Likewise, it was a comparatively trouble free journey for Kirill Gerassimenko. In the third round he accounted for Slovenia’s Deni Kozul, the no.13 seed (11-3, 11-6, 14-12), prior to defeating Denmark’s Anders Lind, the no.28 seed (6-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-9) to reserve his place in the last four.
No great moments of drama for Kirill Gerassimenko; for Tomas Polansky, life was somewhat more difficult. After accounting for Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador, the no.10 seed (8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5), he overcame Japanese qualifier Shunsuke Togami to reserve his semi-final place. However, he was tested; he needed the full seven games to ensure victory (8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7).
The semi-finals and final of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event will be played on Friday 5th May.