by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Impressively, the combination formed by Zhao Jiaxin and Gao Shentong, with Zhao Xinpeng resigned to the bench, beat the Spain ‘A’ Team pairing of Arnau Pons and Iker Gonzalez, the no.2 seeds, by three matches to nil to secure first place in the group.
Defeat and the end of the road; only the teams finishing in first places in each of the seven groups advanced to the main draw.
A place in the last eight reserved, no changes to the selection, China duly recorded a quarter-final success against the Belgium ‘C’ Team duo formed by Tim Gittia and Alessi Massart, a pairing in form. In the group stage of proceedings they had recorded a three-two defeat in opposition to Portugal’s David Bessa and Francisco Wahnon, the no.6 seeds.
Progress for China contrary to seeding, it was the same for Spain ‘B’ represented by Norbert Tauler and Daniel Berzosa; the no.5 seeds, they duly topped their group before recording a three matches to one quarter-final success in opposition to the combination formed by the Czech Republic’s Borek Otahal and Russia’s Maksim Kaburkin, a pair who had excelled expectations in the initial phase. They had recorded a three-two win when facing Belgium’s Louis Laffineur and Nolan Lerat, the no.4 seeds.
Unexpected semi-finalists; for the remaining two places it was as status advised.
Represented by Nicolas Degros and Adrien Rassenfosse, Belgium ‘A’, the top seeds, finished in first place in their group and advanced directly to the penultimate round; similarly the French pairing of Fabio Rakotoarimanana and Felix Lebrun, the no.3 seeds, secured first place in their group before overcoming the England ‘A’ Team duo of Jamie Liu and Amirul Hussein by three matches to nil in the quarter-finals.
Earlier the English duo had caused somewhat of an upset by recording a three-two win against the combination formed by Poland’s Maksymilian Miastowski and Singapore’s Nathaniel Jun Kai Chua, the no.7 seeds, to reserve first place in their group.
At the semi-final stage Belgium ‘A’ meets Spain ‘B’; France opposes China; the Cadet Boys’ Team event concludes on Saturday 21st April.