by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Impressively he accounted for the Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky to claim the Under 21 Men’s Singles title (11-13, 14-12, 11-9, 11-8), whilst in the Men’s Singles event, in both the third round and in the quarter-finals, he caused upsets.
The no.10 seed, he beat compatriot Jiang Tianyi, the no.2 seed (7-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5), prior to ending Spanish hopes by overcoming Alvaro Robles, the no.5 seed (11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 11-5).
A surprise Men’s Singles semi-finalist; in fact he was one of four and not the only Hong Kong player in form. In the third round Ng Pak Nam beat Korea’s Cho Seungmin, the no.3 seed (11-3, 11-4, 13-11, 11-6), prior to overcoming Iran’s Nima Alamiyan, the no.9 seed (11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9) to seal his semi-final place.
Defeat for Nima Alamiyan, at the quarter-final stage there was also defeat for elder brother, Noshad Alamiyan; the no.4 seed, he was beaten by India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.9 seed (7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6).
Casualties but the biggest was Austria’s Robert Gardos; the top seed in the Men’s Singles event, at the quarter-final stage he was beaten by Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura (11-7, 11-3, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10).
At the semi-final stage Kazuhiro Yoshimura meets Ng Pak Nam; Sathiyan Gnanasekaran opposes Lam Siu Hang.
Surprise semi-finalist in the Men’s Singles event, it was the same in the Women’s Singles competition. The respective top two seeds, Japan’s Hina Hayata and Korea’s Jeon Jihee duly reserved semi-final places but there were defeats for Japan’s Yui Hamamoto and Korea’s Yang Haeun.
Yui Hamamoto, the no.3 seed, was beaten at the quarter-final stage by colleague Saki Shibata, the no.5 seed (11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-1); one round earlier Yang Haeun, the no.4 seed, had experienced defeat at the hands of Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, the no.9 seed (7-11, 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3). Pertinently, Bernadette Szocs maintained her form; at the quarter-final stage she accounted for Korean qualifier Ji Eunchae (11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5).
In the penultimate round, Hina Hayata plays Bernadette Szocs, Saki Shibata confront Jeon Jihe.
Title hopes very much alive for Japan; in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event they already have gold in their bank. In the final Satsuki Odo, only 13 years old, beat Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatyh (11-5, 11-3, 11-9) to claim her first such international title.