14 Sep 2018

A first appearance on the ITTF World Junior Circuit for China’s Geng Linyu, the perfect start, for Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz, a wealth of international exposure, a day of exasperation; such was the situation at the close of play on Thursday 13th September at the 2018 Croatia Junior and Cadet Open in Varazdin.

Geng Linyu collected two gold medals, for Youssef Abdel-Aziz it was two silver.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Most impressive, Geng Linyu beat Youssef Abdel-Aziz to claim the Junior Boys’ Singles title (11-6, 11-7, 11-3, 11-9), having less than one hour earlier partnered colleague Song Zhuoheng to Junior Boys’ Doubles success. At the final hurdle they overcame Youssef Abdel-Aziz and Maciej Kolodziejczyk , a contest in which they had to withstand a determined recovery before emerging successful by the very narrowest of decisions (11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9).

In both events, Youssef Abdel-Aziz commenced matters as the top seed; both 16 years old, neither Geng Linyu nor Song Zhuoheng possess a current world ranking.

Successful together, apart it was Song Zhuoheng who almost ended the hopes of his colleague; he came the nearest to beating Geng Linyu. At the semi-final stage he extended the champion elect the full seven games (11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7), the only player to achieve the feat. Notably, one round earlier, Song Zhuoheng had beaten Chen Yuanyu, also from China (11-8, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6), the third round winner in opposition to Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen, the no.2 seed (10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-2, 9-11, 5-11, 11-5).

Previously, on the second day of play, Geng Linyu had beaten India’s Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the no.4 seed (11-9, 11-7, 11-6, 10-12, 11-5), before accounting for Italy’s Andrea Puppo (11-7, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10) to reserve his place in the penultimate round.

Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, en route to final, Youssef Abdel-Aziz had been in similarly impressive form. He had left in his wake Germany’s Meng Fanbo, the no.9 seed (11-9, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8), the Czech Republic’s Adam Stalzer (11-6, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3) and Brazil’s Guilherme Teodoro, the no.7 seed (8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6, 13-11) to reserve his semi-final place, where the good form continued. He accounted for China’s Song Baifu (11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-5), the player who beaten Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun, the no.3 seed, in round two (8-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7).

The Junior Boys’ Singles and Junior Boys’ Doubles events completed; attention now turns to the Junior Boys’ Team and Cadet Boys’ Team competitions; play concludes on Sunday 16th September.

World Junior Circuit 2018 Croatia Junior & Cadet Open Geng Linyu

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