by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
In both Italy and France he reached the semi-final round; in Thailand he was beaten by colleague Kuang Li in the final before later in the day extracting revenge to win Cadet Boys’ Singles gold.
Not listed amongst the top 40 names in Wladyslawowo-Cetniewo, in the later stages the 15 year old accounted for Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz, the no.8 seed (12-10, 13-11, 11-7, 13-11), prior to recording a quarter-final success against colleague Cao Yantao (11-8, 11-7, 13-11, 11-9) and a semi-final win in opposition to Romania’s Cristian Pletea, the no.2 seed (16-14, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9).
Notably in the second round Cristian Pletea had beaten Kuang Li (12-14, 11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 11-7) prior to ousting Ioannis Sgouropoulos, the no.6 seed and reigning European Youth champion (16-14, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9). Likewise Cao Yantao, a quarter-finalist in the Czech Republic, had upset the order of merit. He had overcame Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin, the no.3 seed, in round three (11-3, 12-10, 7-11, 11-2, 11-9).
A place in the final booked; Xiang Peng secured the title at the expense of compatriot, Xu Yingbin, the no.4 seed (11-9, 11-2, 12-14, 12-10, 11-7), a player for whom once again it was so near yet so far. However, it was one step higher, in his three previous ITTF World Junior Circuit appearances this year, always he had finished in the bronze medal position. He was a semi-finalist in the Czech Republic, France and Thailand.
Impressive from Xiang Peng, it had been the same from Xu Yingbin en route to the final. At the quarter-final stage he had beaten Japan’s Takeru Kashiwa, the no.16 seed (11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-2), before at the semi-final stage overcoming colleague, Yuan Licen, the no.19 seed (7-11, 5-11, 11-2, 11-6, 4-11, 11-6, 11-8), the winner in the first tournament of the year in Oman. Impressively, in the second round Yuan Licen had accounted for Romania’s Rares Sipos, the top seed (6-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7).
The individual events concluded, attention now turns to team event, proceedings conclude on Sunday 27th May.