25 Mar 2018

Respectively two days earlier, gold, silver and bronze in the Junior Boys’ Singles event at the 2018 Italian Junior and Cadet Open in Lignano; Xu Haidong, Yu Heyi and Yuan Licen combined to win the Junior Boys’ Team title on the penultimate day of play, Saturday 24th March, in the Adriatic coastal resort.

Furthermore, they proved a step ahead of the field, not one individual match was surrendered in the group stage, nor in the main draw.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

At the final hurdle, a three-nil win was recorded against the host nation trio of Gabrielle Piciulin, Carlo Rossi and Marco Cappuccio.

Yu Heyi gave his team the perfect start by beating Gabrielle Piciulin (11-7, 11-5, 11-3), before Xu Haidong accounted for Carlo Rossi (11-5, 11-4, 11-1) and Yuan Licen overcame Marco Cappuccio (11-4, 11-6, 11-3) to end matters.

Impressive, it had been just the same from the Chinese trio earlier in the day; at the quarter-final stage they had beaten the Spanish outfit formed by Javier Soria, Alberto Lillo and Francisco Miguel Ruiz, prior to overcoming Germany’s Kay Stumper, Meng Fanbo and Jannik Xu in a similarly authoritative manner.

Meanwhile, for the Italians, the latter stages had proved somewhat more testing. No changes to the line-up that appeared in the final; at the quarter-final stage they recorded a three-one win in opposition to Portugal’s Tiago Li, Vitor Amorin and Goncalo Gomez before being extended the full five match distance by Russian formation of Maksim Grebnev, Lev Katsman and Artem Dvoynikov.

Backbone of the Italian success against the Russian was Carlo Rossi; in the second match of the fixture he beat Lev Katsman (7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9), prior to in the vital fifth and deciding match of the engagement overcoming Maksim Grebnev (11-4, 11-5, 12-10). The one further win for Italy was secured in the opening match of the contest when Gabrielle Pocuilin beat Maksim Grebnev (11-8, 11-7, 11-8).

Team events concluded, attention now turns to the individual events in the Cadet and Hopes age groups.

World Junior Circuit 2018 Italian Junior & Cadet Open China

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