by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Only 13 years and listed at no.412 on the current Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings, not only did Louis Laffineur cause a major opening day shock, he caused one of the biggest upsets of the year; he beat Japan’s Takeru Kashiwa in a tense five games duel, determined by the very minimal two point margin in the deciding fifth game (11-7, 3-11, 11-13, 11-5, 12-10).
Not only was Takeru Kashiwa, the no.4 seed, he is listed 370 places higher on the rankings at no.42. Meanwhile, last year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit he was the runner up in Slovenia and earlier this year a quarter-finalist in the Czech Republic.
The young man put in shade the efforts of his more illustrious Belgian colleagues.
Laurens Devos beat Poland’s David Bessa (11-7, 5-11, 11-6, 11-4), Jacques Quentin accounted for Spain’s Adrian Fernandez (11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10), whilst David Comeliau overcame Maksymilian Miastowski, like David Bessa from Poland (11-7, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7).
All were wins as expected; each member of the Belgian trio occupied the top rated position in their respective group. Laurens Devos was the no.6 seed, Jacques Quentin was two places lower with David Comeliau completing the top 16 names.
Similarly Adrian Rassenfosse, Nicolas Degros and Olav Kosolosky succeeded as expected; all three occupied the second highest rated place in their respective group, all opened their accounts by beating the lowest ranked players.
Adrian Rassenfosse, listed at no.183 on the current Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings, beat Lude Hulsof of the Netherlands (11-4, 11-3, 11-9); likewise Olav Kosolosky, named at no.249, accounted for Antoine Doyen of France (11-7, 11-6, 11-7). Both Lude Hulsof and Antoine Doyen are very much new to the international scene and have no global status.
Impressive performances, it was the same from Nicolas Degros; he beat England’s Samuel Chesterman (11-6, 11-7, 11-5). Presently, on the Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings, Nicolas Degros is named at no.165, Samuel Chesterman at no.789.
Players finishing in first and second positions in each of the 16 groups advance to the main draw.