by Ian Marshall, Editor
Notably Japan is very much to the fore; they provide the names of those who have enjoyed previous ITTF World Tour success.
Yuto Kizukuri, top seed in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event, is seeking one place higher than last year when at the final hurdle; he lost to the host nation’s Lim Jonghoon.
There is no Lim Jonghoon in the draw this year but the name of colleague, Mizuki Oikawa does appear; a player Yuto Kizukuri knows well. In 2016 in Australia, he lost to Mizuki Oikawa in the final, the following year he reversed the decision in China.
In Daejeon Mizuki Oikawa is the no.2 seed, alongside colleague, Kohei Sambe, he is the most successful player on duty in ITTF World Tour Under 21 Men’s Singles events. In addition to his contests with Yuto Kizukuri, Mizuki Oikawa won in 2012 and 2017 in Belarus as well as in 2014 in Chile, whilst being the runner up in 2012 and 2016 in the Czech Republic, as well as in 2016 in Korea Republic and the following year in Germany.
Notably in Chile, Mizuki Oikawa beat Kohei Sambe in the final, a situation that was also his lot in the same year in Australia as well as in 2015 in Spain and 2016 in Tokyo. However, like Mizuki Oikawa, he has four wins to his name. He emerged successful in Zagreb in 2012 and then in both 2013 and 2014 in Belarus prior to 2015 in Belgium.
Success on the ITTF World Tour, also from Japan and on duty in Daejeon; Yuki Matsuyama, Yuta Tanaka and Shunsuke Togami have won ITTF Challenge Series Under 21 Men’s Singles titles. In 2017 Yuki Matsuyama won in both Croatia and Slovenia, last year Shunsuke Togami succeeded in Belgium; earlier this year Yuta Tanaka emerged the winner in Thailand.
However, could the Japanese name to note be that of 16 year old Kakeru Sone? Earlier this month he won the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the China Junior and Cadet Open.
Similarly, in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event there are Japanese names to savour. Maki Shiomi, the no.4 seed, won last year on the ITTF World Tour in China, whilst being the runner up in Australia.
Meanwhile, at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments, in 2017 Satsuki Odo succeeded in Japan, earlier this year Miyu Nagasaki was the runner up in Slovenia.
In Daejeon, Miyu Nagasaki is the no.2 seed; yet to reach an ITTF World Tour Under 21 Women’s Singles final, Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam, is the top seed.