by Ian Marshall, Editor
The 18 year old is the man in form; for several of his fiercest rivals in Spa, the task is to find form.
Colleague Maksim Grebnev, the no.2 seed, suffered and earlier than anticipated departure in Metz, as did the next in the order of merit, Iran’s Amin Ahmadian. Both experienced third round defeats, Maksim Grebnev was beaten by Belgium’s Adrien Rassenfosse, the no.14 seed in Spa; Amin Ahmadian suffered at the hands of Frenchman, Vincent Picard.
Similarly, one round later, the quarter-finals, Vincent Picard proved the nemesis of Germany’s Kay Stumper, the no.5 seed in Spa; one round earlier Japan’s Takeru Kashiwa had lost to Nikhil Kumar of the United States. Takeru Kashiwa occupies the no.7 seeded spot.
Meanwhile, not present in Metz, Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin and Tai Ming-Wei alongside India’s Manush Utpalbhai Shah, all making their first appearances of the year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, appear high in the order. Last year, Feng Yi-Hsin, the no.4 seed, emerged the runner up in France; Tai Ming-Wei, the no.6 seed, won in El Salvador, Manush Utpalbhai Shah finished in the silver medal position in Jordan.
Major challengers for podium places but note the names of China’s Cao Yantao, the no.13 seed and Zeng Beixun, the no.16 seed. Last year Cao Yantao was the runner up in Hungary, Zeng Beixun experienced the same fate in Italy before winning in Serbia.
Both could well provide major threats to the aspirations of consecutive wins for Lev Katrsman; it is exactly the same in the boys’ doubles event. Cao Yantao and Zeng Beixun form the eighth seeded pair; winners last week in France, Lev Katsman and Maksim Grebnev top the list. Iran’s Amin Ahmadian and Radim Kayyam occupy the second seeded position.
Play on the opening day of action centres on the junior boys’ singles and junior boys’ doubles events.