by Ian Marshall, Editor
A major contender for the unwanted accolade was Japan’s Miyuu Kihara, the winner earlier this year in May at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Croatia Open; accepted she is only 15 years old but in Ulanbaataar she occupied the no.11 seeded position, she was the favourite to gain first place in the group. She was beaten in her opening contest by Korea Republic’s Lee Daeun, after having held a two games to nil lead (12-14, 7-11, 11-0, 11-8, 12-10).
Good form from Lee Daeun; that good form was maintained later in the day. She overcame Malaysia’s Karen Lyne (11-9, 11-9, 11-9) and thus confirmed first place.
Games ratio decided
Equally, China’s Kuai Man was in the running in the casualty stakes; the no.9 seed, she was beaten by DPR Korea’s Pak Su Gyong (12-10, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7). Defeat for Kuai Man but there was hope; on her very next visit to the table, Pak Su Gyong suffered at the hands of Japan’s Miyu Nagasaki, she was beaten in straight games (11-1, 11-6, 11-7).
Thus if Kuai Man was to proceed, she had to beat Miyu Nagasaki without the loss of a single game; it didn’t happen, she won in four games (11-4, 14-16, 11-9, 11-6), the long drawn out second game proving pivotal. Games ratio decided the final outcome, first place for Miyu Nagasaki (4:3), followed by Kuai Man (4:4) and Pak Su Gyong (3:4).
Disappointment for Pak Su Gyong following an outstanding performance, for colleague, Pak Su Gyong it was a different scenario. In her opening contest she caused an upset of note by beating beat Singapore’s Goi Rui Xuan, the no.7 seed (14-12, 11-8, 5-11, 11-8), before securing first place courtesy of success against Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Lam.
Top seed falls
However, did any of those upsets match the junior boys’ singles happenings?
In his very first match, Singapore’s Pang Yew En Koen, the top seed, was beaten by Japan’s Kakeru Sone (11-8, 11-7, 11-7). A surprise defeat for Pang Yew En Koen but was his defeat higher on the shock scale than that of China’s Zeng Beixun, the no.7 seed? He lost to Korea Republic’s Park Gyunhyeon in his opening contest (10-12, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9).
Initial success for Kakeru Sone and Park Gyuhyeon, later they confirmed top places; Kakeru Sone beat Mongolia’s Temuulen Myandal (11-5, 11-5, 11-5), Park Gyuhyeon accounted for Thailand’s Veerapat Puthikungasern (11-6, 11-4, 11-8).
Last year at the 2018 Asian Junior and Cadet Championships, Zeng Beixun won the cadet boys’ singles title; additionally he claimed gold at the ITTF World Cadet Challenge, whilst also winning the junior boys’ singles event on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in Serbia. Do those facts add up to a major shock?
Perhaps not, three days earlier in a 3-2 win for Korea Republic against Japan, Park Gyuhyeon had beaten both Yukiya Uda (4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7) and Hiroto Shinozuka (15-13, 11-3, 11-5).
A surprise defeat for Zeng Beixun; there were no such misgivings for colleagues Xiang Peng; the no.2 seed and Liu Yebo, the no.4 seed; alongside India’s Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the no.3 seed, top place in the group was secured.
Somewhat similarly, China’s Shi Xunyao and Wu Yangchen in addition to Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Yu-Chin and Yu Hsiu-Ting, the elite names in the junior girls’ singles event, all ended the day in first place.
Meanwhile, in the cadet boys’ singles event, amongst the most renowned, it was first place in the group; China’s Chen Yuanyu, Japan’s Sora Matsushima and Iran’s Navid Shams all secured top spots as did Singapore’s Izaac Quek Yong.
Success for the top four names; in the cadet girls’ singles competition, there was one casualty of note. China’s Chen Yi, Japan’s Kaho Akae and Sakura Yokoi, the respective top three names reserved group first places and thus advanced to the main draw. Alas, for Chinese Taipei there was no such progress, Tsai Yun-En was experienced defeat at the hands of Korea Republic’s Kim Nayeong (7-11, 13-11, 11-4, 11-8). Kim Nayeong remained unbeaten to top the group.
Similar to the junior boys’ singles and junior girls’ singles events, only top spot in the group ensured progress.
A busy day and as the curtain closed, there was another upset on what was not a good day for Pang Yew En Koen; partnering colleague, Goi Rui Xuan, the no.2 seeds, in the second round, they suffered defeat at the hands of Japan’s Yukiya Uda and Miyuu Kihara (11-7, 15-17, 11-9, 11-4).
Problems for the no.2 seeds, no such difficulties for the pair at the top of the order; China’s Xu Yingbin and Shi Xinyao caused Singapore more pain, they ended the hopes of Josh Chua Shao Han and Wong Xin Rui (14-12, 11-4, 11-5).