by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Just ten days before celebrating his 18th birthday on Sunday 25th February, required to compete in the qualification group stage Yu Heyi rose to the challenge.
He accounted for Japan’s Kakeru Sone, the no.14 seed, at the final hurdle (8-11, 13-11, 12-10, 13-11, 9-11, 11-9), having at the quarter-final stage beaten Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz, the no.5 seed (11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9) followed by success in opposition to compatriot Xu Yingbin, the no.8 seed (11-8, 11-7, 11-3, 11-5).
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, in the later stages, Kakeru Sone accounted for Cao Yantao, like Yu Heyi from China and required to qualify (11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4), prior to reserving his place in the final courtesy of victory against Azerbaijan’s Yu Khinshang, also a qualifier (8-11, 13-11, 12-10, 13-11, 9-11, 11-9).
Success against Xu Yingbin, in the Junior Boys’ Doubles event it was success in partnership with his colleague; the no.10 seeds, on the second day of play they beat the combination formed by Austria’s Maciej Kolodzieczcjk and Ioannis Sgouropoulos of Greece, the no.4 seeds (7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-2, 11-9) prior to securing the title at the final expense of India’s Manush Utpalbhai Shah and Manav Vikash Thakkar, the no.2 seeds (14-12, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11).
In the opposite half of the draw, in the penultimate round, Manush Utpalbhai Shah and Manav Vikash Thakkar had ended the progress of the formation comprising Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Italy’s Carlo Rossi, the no.3 seeds (13-11, 11-8, 11-7).
Play continues on Friday 16th February with the Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ Team events in addition to the Cadet Boys’ Team and Cadet Girls’ Team competitions; the finals of which will be played on Saturday 17th February.