by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
At the final hurdle he beat Michael Minh Tran of the United States, the no.22 seed (11-5, 13-11, 11-5, 11-8), having earlier in the day enjoyed an impressive run of success. He accounted for Canada’s Jeremy Hazin, the no.3 seed (11-4, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6), Portugal’s Tiago Li, the no.7 seed (10-12, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7) and Sharon Alguetti, the top seed and like Michael Ming Tran from the United States (11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3).
The win recorded in opposition to Sharon Alguetti was significant; it was the third time they had met in the tournament.
In the Junior Boys’ Team event in the group stage of proceedings; Sun Zheng had beaten Sharon Alguetti (11-7, 11-1, 11-6) but had lost to Gal Alguetti (10-12, 14-12, 4-11, 11-9, 11-6). Later they met again in the final, the scenario was reversed. Sharon Alguetti beat Sun Zheng (7-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8) Gal Alguetti experienced defeat (7-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8).
Also at the semi-final stage, Sun Zheng had lost to Chile’s Andres Martinez (6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10) who in the Junior Boys’ Singles event did not venture beyond the group phase.
Now do those results not suggest that whatever the background of Sun Zheng, the win was unexpected?
Hard fought wins for Sun Zheng, it was the same for Michael Minh Tran; in the later stages he accounted for colleagues Victor Liu, the no.4 seed (4-11, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7) and Gal Alguetti, the no.15 seed (12-10, 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8), prior to ending the hopes of Singapore’s Josh Shao Han Chua, the no.13 seed (7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6). Notably in the round of the last eight, Josh Shao Han Chua had beaten Poland’s Artur Grela, the no.2 seed (5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5, 13-11).
Success for Sun Zheng, he becomes the sixth player from China to win a Junior Boys’ Singles title on this year’s ITTF World Junior Circuit; the others are Kuang Li, Xiang Peng, Xu Haidong, Yu Heyi and Yuan Licen.