by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Yuto Kizukuri, winner of the Boys’ Singles title at the 2014 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals; after accounting for Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the no.17 seed (11-9, 12-10, 11-6) and Korea’s Park Jeongwoo, the no.15 seed, overcame the defensive skills of compatriot and top seed, Yuto Muramatsu (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3).
A most impressive series of wins; it was the same for Kazuhiro Yoshimura, the player who at last week’s Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum Lion Japan Open, had recovered from a two games to nil deficit against China’s Fang Bo, only to experience defeat by the very minimal margin in the seventh game.
Arguably, it was a chance missed; in Chengdu the chance was seized. At the quarter-final stage he recovered from a two games to one deficit to beat Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit, the no.2 seed (8-11, 11-3, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8) to reserve his penultimate round place. Earlier, Kazuhiro Yoshimura had beaten Gleb Shamruk of Belarus, the no.26 seed (5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3), followed by success against Chinese Taipei’s Yang Heng-Wei, the no.16 seed (9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-4).
At the semi-final stage Yuto Kizukuri faces Korea’s Lim Jonghoon, the no.3 seed; Kazuhiro Yoshimura faces Mizuki Oikawa.
Both Lim Jonghoon and Mizuki Oikawa enjoyed comparatively comfortable opening successes; Lim Jonghoon beat Japan’s Kohei Sambe, the no.9 seed (11-6, 11-7, 11-6), Mizuki Oikawa accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Sun Chia-Hung, the no.13 seed (11-8, 11-3, 11-6).
However, one round later it was a very different scenario. Lim Jonghoon needed seven games to overcome the in-form Frenchman Joe Seyfried, the no.21 seed (6-11, 11-3, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9), the surprise first round winner in opposition to Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang, the no.6 seed (11-9, 11-9, 13-15, 7-11, 11-5) Likewise, Mizuki Oikawa was extended the full distance by colleague, Asuka Sakai, the no.5 seed (11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 7-11, 11-8).
The Under 21 Men’s Singles event will be played to a conclusion on Wednesday 21st June.