01 Dec 2017

Back from the brink of defeat, nobody at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Championships in Riva del Garda has been better at performing the great escape than Germany’s Gerritt Engemann; he endorsed the fact that if you want to succeed in sport then above all else you need to be strong mentally.

He finished in first place in his group but was extended to the very limit by India’s Snehit Suravajjula (12-14, 4-11, 7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9); one day later on Friday 1st December, again he almost caused Zhu Xiaoyong, the German national coach, sitting courtside, heart failure.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In the opening round of the Boys’ Singles event he overcame Italy’s Carlo Rossi by the very minimal margin in the seventh game (11-13, 11-9, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8, 11-13, 12-10).

However, there is more to the story; against Snehit Suravajjula, he trailed 3-8 and 6-9 in the deciding seventh game, in opposition to Carlo Rossi he was behind 6-10 in the decider!

Furthermore, in the sixth game against the Italian he was down 6-9, he won next four points to lead 11-10 before promptly losing the next three!

“Against Carlo I knew it would be tough, we played here in Riva del Garda two years ago in the Cadet Boys’ Team event at the European Youth Championships, I won three-nil. He’s difficult to play against; he has good serves and that caused me problems, I didn’t receive well. In the seventh game I became too passive; at 6-10 down I thought I was going to lose.” Gerritt Engemann

Allowing his adversary to seize the initiative, Gerritt Engemann was somewhat negative in the seventh game against Carlo Rossi; that was until he thought all was lost.

“At the end I played more positively, it was just fight, fight and fight; a strong head is vital. My forehand is not so good but my head is good; you can teach somebody forehands and backhands but a good head, you can’t teach that.” Gerritt Engemann

Success for Geritt Engemann but as the top half of the main draw in the opening round of the Boys’ Singles event advanced, there was a major disappointment for Chinese Taipei; Li Yun-Ju was forced to withdraw nursing an arm injury.

Otherwise it was success. China’s Xue Fei, the top seed, beat Iran’s Amin Ahmadian (7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6, 11-3), colleague, Wang Chuqin, the no.5 seed, accounted for Austria’s Maciej Kolodziejczk; Romania’s Cristian Pletea the no.6 seed, ended the hopes of Brazil’s Eduardo Tomoike.

The second and third rounds of the Boys’ Singles event, in addition to the quarter-finals will be played on Saturday 2nd December.


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