by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Defeat for Narayan Kapolnek but having beaten Lars Porch in his opening contest (11-7, 11-9, 11-7) it meant that second place in the group and thus progress to the main draw was secured; players finishing in first and second places in each of the 15 groups, plus one “Lucky Loser” drawn at random from the second placed players, advanced to the main draw.
A notable performance to end the group stage having on the previous day beaten the top named player in the group, it was the same from Brazil’s Gustavo Yokota, Moldova’s Vladislav Ursu and Sweden’s Per Sandström in addition to Russia’s Anton Kotov and Feng Yujin of the United States.
All remained unbeaten and topped their respective groups contrary to predictions.
In the contests than concluded the group stage, Gusatvo Yokota beat Croatia’s Dominik Drazic (11-7, 11-6, 11-6), Vladislav Ursu accounted for Nicholas Tito of the United States (6-11, 11-5, 11-9, 2-11, 11-7), whilst Per Sandström overcame Nikhil Kumar of the United States (11-8, 11-9, 11-8).
Similarly, Feng Yujin accounted for Brazil’s Carlos Ishida (11-5, 11-4, 11-5); Anton Kotov defeated Puerto Rico’s Sebastian Echavarria (11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5).
Surprise first places but amongst the principal names, with the exception of Narayan Kapolnek, the leading player, all finished in first places. Notably the previous day, Belgium’s Florian Cnudde and Thibaut Darcis secured first places on the opening day as did Argentina’s Francisco Sanchez.
The qualification phase concluded, the Under 21 Men’s Singles main draw commences on Thursday 12th April.