23 Mar 2018

Safely through the group stage of proceedings, first place secured and thus a direct entry to the second round of the Junior Boys’ Singles event at the 2018 Tunisia Junior and Cadet Open in Rades, the immediate task for India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar and Austria’s Maciej Kolodziejczyk, the respective top two seeds, was to secure a quarter-final place.

It was not to be the outcome, on Thursday 23rd March both suffered shock defeats in their opening main draw matches.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Manav Vikash Thakkar was beaten by Serbia’s Dimitrije Levajac in a seven games duel, the match on a knife-edge until the very last point: Dimitrije Levajac emerged successful in a quite titanic seven games (13-11, 11-9, 6-11, 14-16, 10-12, 11-8, 14-12).

“It was a very tough match for me because his service was half long, so I had to put the ball on his backhand, his forehand was so good. It is unbelievable that I could win and I cannot even think of the quarter-final now as I am just so excited winning the tough match.” Dimitrije Levajac

Defeat for Manav Vikash Thakkar, for Payas Jain it was totally the opposite scenario; he was the player to end the hopes of Maciej Kolodziejczyk, the no.2 seed. H succeeded in five games (7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5)

“I am so happy making it to my first quarter-final at a World Junior Circuit tournament. I am so excited beating a higher ranked player. After I lost the first game I decided to be more attack minded against him. It really worked for me and I am growing in confidence as the tournament progresses. I am now playing well and I am confident I can win my quarter-final match tomorrow.” Payas Jain

Two upsets and there were two more but perhaps not with the same level of drama. Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen, the no.11 seed, beat Canada’s Jeremy Hazin, the no.5 seed (12-10, 11-4, 7-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9); Iran’s AmirrezaAbbasi, the no.12 seed, defeated Portugal’ José Pedro Francisco, the no.5 seed (11.9, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8).

“I believed I could beat him because after watching his game, I found out there is nothing special about him; when the match was tense, my coach told me to slow down and relax in order not to lose vital points. He said I should not be too fast, it worked for me. I am happy going into the quarter-final and I hope to play my best in order to win the match tomorrow.” Pang Yew En Koean

Defeats for the top two seeds but not for the next two names on the list; Iran’s Amin Ahmadian, the no.3 seed, accounted for Tunisia’s Youssef Ben Attia (11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 11-1, 11-4); also from India, Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the no.4 seed, defeated China’s Zhang Bao by the very narrowest of seven games decisions (11-8, 4-11, 9-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9).

Defeat for China and there were two further defeats. Hungary’s Csaba Andra, the no.10 seed , beat Zhang Shangzheng (11-5, 11-4, 11-6, 11-4); Slovakia Jakub Zelinka ended the hopes of Zhang Shangzheng.

At the quarter-final stage Dimitrije Levajac meets Csaba Andras, Jakub Zelinka faces Amin Ahmaddian; in the lower half of the draw it is Manush Utpalbhai Shah against Pang Yew En Koen, Amirraez Abbasi in opposition to Payas Jain.

Quarter-finals reached, in the Junior Boys’ Doubles event, matters have advance to the semi-finals.

In the penultimate round Manush Utpalbhai Shah and Manav Vikash Thakkar, the top seeds, meet China’s Wang Yihao and Zhang Shangzheng, the quarter-finals winners in opposition to Portugal’s José Pedro Francisco who partnered Germany’s Cédric Meissner.
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw Csaba Andras and Jeremy Hazin who ousted Amirreza Abasi and Amin Ahmadian in round three (11-6, 11-6, 8-.11, 7-11, 11-8) oppose Maciej Kolodziejczk and Jakub Zelinka, the no.2 seeds.

Play in the 2018 Tunisia Junior and Cadet Open concludes on Friday 23rd March.

World Junior Circuit 2018 Tunisia Junior and Cadet Open Payas Jain Dimitrije Levajac

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