by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
First places as predicted but two notable names did experience problems.
England’s Kwan Wing, at no.195 on the Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings, the second highest rated on duty, had to settle for runners up spot in his group. Even more drastic it was third place for Italy’s Gabriele Piccolin, at no.205, the fourth highest on duty.
The consolation for Kwan Wing was that he advanced to the main draw; for Gabriele Piccolin it was the end of the road. Players finishing in first and second places in each group progressed to the knock-out stage.
Both suffered at the hands of players with no current world rankings.
Kwan Wing was beaten by Hong Kong’s Chan Baldwin Ho Wah (11-8, 11-8, 11-9), before recovering to overcome Bulgaria’s Martin Petrov (8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3). Chan Baldwin Ho Wah duly accounted for Martin Petrov (11-8, 11-6, 11-6) to reserve first place in the group.
Meanwhile for Gabriele Piccolin, he was beaten by Iran’s Radin Khayyam in three straight games in his opening encounter (11-9, 11-3, 11-8), prior to overcoming Sweden’s Bruno Nettrap in his concluding contest in five games (11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-9). Vitaly earlier in the day Bruno Nettrap had overcome Radin Khayyam in a full distance duel (8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9).
Thus on matches won, the three players were level; games ratio decided. Therefore, it was first place Radin Khayyam (5:3), followed by Bruno Nettrap (5:5) and Gabriele Piciulin (3:5).
Surprise first places and there were more; notably Switzerland’s Elias Hardmeier and Pedro Osiro topped their groups contrary to expectations, as did Russia’s Ilia Anokin, Romania’s Mihai Zamfir and the Czech Republic’s Tomas Koldas.
However, it was Korea who attracted the most attention; very much new to the international scene, against expectations Park Gyuhyeon, Bak Taehong, Lee Gihun and Kim Munsu all finished in top spots in their respective groups.
Play in the Junior Boys’ Singles event concludes on Thursday 14th September.