by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Yu Heyi gave his team the perfect start by beating Hiroto Shinozuka (11-8, 11-8, 11-7), before Xu Yingbin overcame Kakeru Sone (11-8, 11-9, 11-9) and Cao Yantao defeated Kazuki Hamada to end matters (7-11, 11-3, 18-16, 11-5).
A comprehensive victory but at the semi-final stage life had been more testing for the Chinese combination. After recording a three-nil win against the team formed by Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz, Chile’s Nicolas Burgos and the Dominican Republic’s Mariano Lockward; Romania proved more than worthy opposition.
Rares Sipos beat Yu Heyi, the player who two days earlier had won the Junior Boys’ Singles event, to give his team the perfect start; impressively he emerged successful in three straight games (11-8, 11-7, 11-8).
Immediately Xu Yingbin levelled matters by beating Cristian Pletea (11-8, 11-8, 11-9), before Cao Yantao accounted for Dragos Florin Oprea (11-5, 11-6, 11-8) to give China the lead. Yu Heyi returned to the table to secure the victory but he came mightily close to defeat; in a contest where each game was on a knife-edge he beat Cristian Pletea by the very minimal two point margin in the deciding fifth game (12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9).
Earlier in the opening round, the Rares Sipos, Cristian Pletea and Dragos Florin Oprea had recorded a three-nil success in opposition to the Austrian combination of Maciej Kolodziejczyk, Thomas Ziller and Jonas Plomberger.
Meanwhile, in the adjacent half of the draw, Hiroto Shinozuka, Kakeru Sone and Kazuki Hamada had reached the final courtesy of a three-nil win against Poland’s Artur Grela, Jan Zandecki and Przemyslaw Walaszek, followed by a three-margin of victory in opposition to the Indian trio formed by Snehit Suravajjula, Manav Vikash Thakkar and Jeet Chandra. The one success for India was recorded in the third match of the fixture when Jeet Chandra beat Kazuki Hamada (11-9, 11-5, 11-4).
Junior events finished, proceedings conclude on Sunday 18th February with play in the Cadet Boys’ Singles, Cadet Girls’ Singles, Cadet Boys’ Doubles and Cadet Girls’ Doubles competitions.