by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
After accounting for Hong Kong’s Pau Yik Man in three straight games (11-7, 11-1, 11-3), he faced China’s Xue Fei, a player with no current world ranking owing to an absence from international competition.
However, earlier in the proceedings he had remained unbeaten throughout the Junior Boys’ Team event and in 2015, was the runner up in the Boys’ Singles event at the World Junior Championships in La Roche sur Yon.
In a tension packed duel, Yuto Kizukuri recovered from a two games to nil deficit to record a thrilling five games win (4-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8, 12-10). Defeat for Xue Fei and there is no consolation; only players finishing in first place in each group advance to the main draw.
A hard fought win to remain unbeaten and thus secure first place in the group, it was the same for Xu Yingbin, like Xue Fei from China, as it was for Chinese Taipei’s Lin Hsin-Yang, Singapore’s Ethan Poh Shao Feng and Iran’s Amin Ahmadian.
Xu Yingbin, the no.11 seed, needed the full five games to beat Amirreza Abbasi, also from Iran (11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7), as did Li Hsin-Yang, the no.13 seed, when facing India’s Jeet Chandra (4-11, 11-6, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4).
Similarly, Ethan Poh Shao Feng, the no.15 seed, was tested by Macao’s Lam Hin Tak (11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-1), as was Amin Ahmadian, the no.16 seed, when confronting Singapore’s Ben Kun Ting (9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7).
The Junior Boys’ Singles event continues on Monday 3rd July; the semi-finals and final will be played on Tuesday 4th July.