by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Currently Manav Vikash Thakkar holds a slender lead (3,355 points) over Bastien Rembert (3,430 points) but with the Frenchman not present in Greater Noida, barring a calamity, playing on home soil, the 17 year old is set to extend that lead.
Furthermore, he has completed the minimum qualification requirement of competing in two continents this year in order to qualify for the Finals; notably earlier in the year he was the runner up in Thailand as well as in Serbia.
Luxembourg bound; the question to be answered in Greater Noida is which India player will join him. The names of Jeet Chandra, Manush Utpalbhai Shah, Snehit Suravajjula and Parth Virmani all appear on the entry list.
It is somewhat of a long shot for Parth Virmani, the fourth seed, he is presently named at no.49 (902 points) on the Standings; for Snehit Suravajjula, the third seed, his hopes are more realistic. If he can reproduce the form displayed three months ago when he won in Jordan, he can start to prepare his flight details to Europe.
Presently he is listed at no.25 (1,312 points) on the Standings, pertinently the 2017 India Junior and Cadet Open is a Premium tournament; should Snehit Suravajjula repeat his Jordanian feat, he could well be as high as no.7 (2,512 points).
The door is open but it might be closed by Manush Utpalbhai Shah, semi-finalist in Serbia or by Jeet Chandra, the player beaten by Snehit Suravajjula in the Jordan final. Manush Utpalbhai Shah is the fifth seed, presently named on the Standings at no.16 (1,492 points); Jeet Chandra is the seventh seed, he is listed at no.27 (1,274 points).
Meanwhile, for colleague Anukran Jain, the seventh seed and Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen, the eighth seed, an invitation to the Finals is not a realistic option. Currently Anukran Jain is named at no.157 (250 points) on the Standings; Pang Yew En Koen is at no.189 (212 points).
However, for one visitor, the possibility of an invitation to Luxembourg is not out of the question but a performance that excels those of previously this year is demanded.
The best so far this year for Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun is a quarter-final finish in Slovenia, he appears at no.24 (1,326 points) on the Standings and is the no.2 seed.
Notably the top eight seeds in the Junior Boys’ Singles event in Greater Noida have all completed the minimum two continent appearance criteria to be eligible to qualify for the Finals.