02 Feb 2018

Crowned African Junior champion some nine months ago in Tunisia, Egypt´s Youssef Abdel-Aziz emerged the player to cause the biggest upset as play commenced in the group stage of the Boys’ Singles event at the Luxembourg 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals on Friday 2nd January.

The no.10 seed, he accounted for Kanak Jha of the United States, the top seed, in seven games (5-11, 13-11, 11-3, 7-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7) to make the perfect start in his quest for a place in the quarter-finals.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

An upset but perhaps not such a major a surprise as one may think; the two met three years ago in January 2015 at the 2014 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals in the Paraguayan capital city of Asuncion; similarly, Youssef Abdel-Aziz prevailed in seven games.

“I knew it would be tough match. I played well but I must play better. Of course, I’m disappointed. I’m not thinking about the quarter-finals at this moment. I am only focused on the next match.” Kanak Jha

“I knew it would be a very tough match and I am very happy to win against Kanak Jha. I felt very confident during the match.” Youssef Abdel-Aziz

Defeat for one notable name and there was defeat for another in the opening matches in the Boys’ Singles event, a success against the odds that brought smile to the hosts; Luxembourg’s Ademir Balaban, the no.15 seed, overcame Russia’s Artur Abusev, the no.8 seed (11-6, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8).

“I had good preparation for this match, because Luka Mladenovic, a Luxembourg player, had won twice against him and he gave me good advice. Four-nil is a very good result. I never thought I could win so easily. My first goal was to win a match here during the World Junior Circuit Finals. My dream is to reach to quarter-finals but it will be a long way.” Ademir Balaban

Problems for Artur Abusev, conversely in the same group, there were no such difficulties for Romania’s Cristian Pletea, the no.2 seed, he beat India’s Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the no.9 seed (11-4, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-8) to make the ideal start to his campaign.

“I have seen him play many times so I was well prepared for today. I feel good, I’m glad to play here. Of course I hope to win but first of all I have to win the matches in my group.” Cristian Pletea

Impressive from Cristian Pletea; for colleague Rares Sipos and Manav Vikash Thakkar, like Manush Utpalbhai Shah also from India, there were positive starts. Manav Vikash Thakkar beat Austria’s Maciej Kolodziejczyk, the no.12 seed (2-11, 11-3, 2-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-5); Rares Sipos, the no.4 seed, accounted for Argentina’s Francisco Sanchi, the no.11 seed (11-5, 11-8, 11-3, 11-3).

Play in the second series of matches in the group stage of both the Boys’ Singles event will be completed later in the day.


World Junior Circuit Finals 2017 World Junior Circuit Finals Kanak Jha Youssef Abdel-Aziz

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Day 3 - Luxembourg 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals