by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The closest call was that experienced by Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chun-Hsiang. The previous day he had lost to Romania’s Bogdan Singeorzan in four games (8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9), the Romanian having earlier in the day experienced defeat at the hands of Spain’s David Palacios in four games (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6).
In order to guarantee first place Chen Chin-Hsiang needed to beat Daniel Palacios in four games or better; he did just that, after losing the first game and being on the precipice of defeat in the second, he won as required (9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8). Thus on games ratio Chen Chin-Hsiang secured first place (5:4) ahead of Daniel Palacios (4:4) and Bogdan Singeorzan (4:5).
Meanwhile, for five other names that started the tournament as the highest rated in their respective groups, there were no defeats but there were deep breaths as matters concluded.
Australia’s Lin Xuqi, the highest list of all, needed the full five games to beat Qatar’s Abdulrahman Al-Naggar, emerging successful in a quite titanic decider (11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 16-14).
Likewise Sweden’s Oscar Perman, the second highest rated player on first stage duty, alongside Korea’s An Jaehyun and Frenchman, Rémi Menad, were all extended the full distance in their closing group phase matches by determined host nation adversaries.
Eventually, Oscar Perman beat Miguel Muñez (5-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8), An Jaehyun overcame Alberto Lillo (11-8, 4-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-4); Rémi Menad defeated Martin Pintos (11-3, 8-11, 11-2, 8-11, 11-7).
Meanwhile for Mohammed Andulwahhab, like Abdulrahman Al-Naggar from Qatar, there was a close call; he had to recover from a two games to nil deficit and the brink of defeat in the fourth when facing Chile’s David Valenzuela (7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 14-12, 11-8).
Narrow margins but not for Russia’s Artur Abusev and Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Chun-Yu who behind Lin Xuqi and Oscar Perman completed the top four names; both completed their first phase itineraries with success against Spanish opposition. Artur Abusev accounted for Marc Gutierrez (11-9, 11-8, 14-12), Tsai Chun-Yu defeated Javier Soria (8-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9).
Play in the main draw of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event commences on Friday 30th March.