by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Throughout the main draw of the Cadet Boys’ Team event, Kuang Li and Zeng Beixun had been the selection; once again in the Cadet Boys’ Doubles competition they were in total harmony.
After recording a quarter-final win over the French partnership of Fabio Rakotoarimana and Myshaal Sabhi, the no.2 seeds (7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3), they accounted for Poland’s Szymon Kolasa and Maciej Kubik, the no.4 seeds (11-2, 11-6, 11-6) to reserve their place in the final.
Good form en route, in the title deciding contest, it was the same; they overcame Croatia’s Ivor Ban and Filip Borovnjak, the no.3 seeds, in three straight games (11-4, 11-9, 11-3).
Defeat for the Croatians but they could be more than satisfied with their efforts; at the semi-final stage they had upset the odds by beating the partnership formed by India’s Pyas Jain and Iran’s Navid Shams, the top seeds (11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10).
Imposing performances, it was the same from Kuang Li in the Cadet Boys’ Singles event; his only major test came in the final against 13 year old colleague, Zhu Jiaqi, who had not competed in the Cadet Boys’ Team competition. Kuang Li needed the full five games to secure victory (11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-4).
Earlier in round two, Kuang Li had beaten Poland’s Maciej Kubik, the top seed (11-6, 11-7, 11-5), prior to overcoming India’s Payas Jain, the no.5 seed (11-8, 11-6, 11-4) and Frenchman Myshaal Sabhi, the no.3 seed (11-5, 11-6, 11-6). Notably, one round earlier Myshaal Sabhi had accounted for Zeng Beixun (11-9, 11-9, 11-7).
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, Zhu Jiaqi was never extended the full five games distance; in the latter stages he beat the Czech Republic’s Simon Belik, the no.7 seed, prior to reserving his place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to Italy’s Andrea Puppo, the no.6 seed (11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9).
Notably, one round earlier, Andrea Puppo had beaten Croatia’s Ivor Ban, the no.2 seed (11-7, 11-8, 12-10).
Proceedings in Hodonin concluded, attention now turns to Örebro, the Swedish Junior and Cadet Open commences on Wednesday 21st February.