24 Feb 2019

A semi-finalist some seven months ago in Taicang, Japan’s Haruki Harada emerged the cadet boys’ singles champion at the 2019 Swedish Junior Open on Sunday 24th February; thus closing the curtain on the five day tournament in in Örebro.

Success and a watershed; it meant the 14 year old, who extols the defensive art, collected his first ever title on the ITTF World Junior Circuit.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

However, the success was not without moments of trials and tribulations.

The no.6 seed, after causing a quarter-final upset by beating Germany’s Mike Hollo, the top seed, in three straight games (11-8, 11-4, 11-8), later against colleagues, life became more exacting. In the penultimate round he beat Haruki Michihiro, a player who had been required to compete in the group qualification stage, he prevailed by the very narrowest of margins in the deciding fifth game (11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9).

In the final, life was no different, in fact even more exacting. He staved off a brave recovery by 10 year old, Sora Matsushima, the no.2 seed, saving one match point in the fifth game before winning three in a row to secure the title (11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 12-10).

Notably, Haruki Michihiro was very much a player in form; in the third round he had ousted Australia’s Finn Luu, the no.3 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-9), before in the quarter-finals overcoming Russia’s Denis Izumdrunov, the no.7 seed and the winner the previous week in the Czech Republic (11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-5).

Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, in the later rounds, Sora Matsushima had accounted for Singapore’s Izaac Quek Yong, the no.5 seed (11-8, 14-12, 6-11, 11-4), prior to reserving his place in the final, courtesy of success in opposition to Germany’s Felix Kholer, the no.13 seed (11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 15-13). Similar to Haruki Michiro, Felix Kohler had caused Russia heartache in the quarter-finals; he had beaten Vladislav Makarov, the no.4 seed (11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 15-13).

Play concluded in Örebro, the next stop on the ITTF World Junior Circuit is Santiago, the five day Chile Junior and Cadet Open commences on Wednesday 20th March.

World Junior Circuit 2019 Swedish Junior & Cadet Open Haruki Harada

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Day 2 - 2019 ITTF Swedish Junior & Cadet Open