by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Arguably the player in form is Shunsuke Togami, on his one and only appearance to date, he won in Sweden; Li Hsin-Yang can to some extent match that record, in January he emerged successful at the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals staged in Indore, India.
Furthermore, Li Hsin-Yang reached the semi-final stage of the Junior Boys’ Singles event at the recent SET 2017 Thailand Junior and Cadet Open in Bangkok where Japan’s Fumiya Igarashi, the champion elect ended progress.
Meanwhile, for Mohammed Abdulwahhab, the winner in 2015 in Jordan and last year in Morocco, he has yet to make an impact this year; in Bangkok, he was beaten in the second round by the host nation’s Pattaratorn Passara.
Success but for the remaining leading names on duty in Platja d’Aro, making the next stride has proved too great.
Russia’s Artur Abusev and Denis Ivonin are the respective top two names on duty, followed by Sweden’s Truls Moregard. Shunsuke Togami is the no.4 seed, Li Hsin-Yang is the no.6 seed with colleague Feng Yi-Hsin being sandwiched in between in the no.5 spot.
The best for the defensive skills of Artur Abusev is a quarter-final finish last year in Poland, whilst for both Denis Ivonin and Truls Moregard it is the penultimate round. Notably Truls Moregard was a semi-finalist last year in Spain; earlier this year Denis Ivonin advanced to the same stage in Sweden.
Somewhat similarly, the best for Feng Yi-Hsin is the round of the last eight; in 2016 he was a quarter-finalist in Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Croatia. Furthermore, he will be seeking an improvement on his efforts at last week’s SET 2017 Thailand Junior and Cadet Open; the top seed, he was beaten in the second round by Japan’s Seiya Nishimura.
Seeking improvement; it is the same for Japan’s Aota Asazu and Chinese Taipei’s Tai Ming-Wei, the players who complete the top eight names.
The best for each is the second step of the podium; in 2016 Aota Asazu was the runner up in the Slovak Republic, Tai Ming-Wei in India.
Now in Platja d’Aro, the goal for both is one step higher.