19 Sep 2019

In the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, China’s Xu Xin, Fan Zhendong and Liang Jingkun asserted their authority on proceedings to win the men’s team title at the 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships; approaching 7,000 miles to the north west in Varazdin, the next generation was underlining the fact that, in the not too distant future, they will be ready to step into illustrious shoes.

Cao Yantao, Liang Guodong, Zhang Minghao and Xiong Mengyang all finished in first places in their respective groups in the initial phase of the junior boys’ singles event at the 2019 Czech Junior and Cadet Open.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The top spot gained by Cao Yantao was to be anticipated, he was the leading name in the group. He beat Romania’s Mihai Rosca (11-4, 11-4, 11-5), followed by success in opposition to India’s Yashansh Malik (11-5, 11-13, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5).

Conversely for Liang Guodong, Zhang Minghao and Xiong Mengyang first place was contrary to status; all remained unbeaten, all accounted for the leading name in their group. Notably, Liang Guodong beat Slovakia’s Filip Delincak, the highest rated player in the qualification stage; most impressively, he prevailed in three straight games (11-6, 11-6, 11-8). Zhang Minghao overcame the host nation’s Frantisek Onderka (12-10, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9), Xiong Mengyang succeeded in opposition to Russia’s Damir Akhmetsafin (11-6, 11-6, 12-10).

Surprise first places and there were more; Korea Republic’s Park Minjun, the host nation’s Simon Belik, Poland’s Milosz Redimski and Romania’s Darius Movileanu emerged unexpected group winners as did Chinese Taipei’s Yang Zhi-Xing and Chen Yen-Ting. Likewise it was top spot contrary to expectations for Japan’s Yuto Abe, Spain’s Arnau Pons and Israel’s Tal Israeli.

Attracting attention

Meanwhile, in the initial phase of the junior girls’ singles event, Vera Volkova of Belarus was very much the player to attract the attention; she secured first place in her group, notably overcoming Australia’s Parleen Kaur (-9, 11-5, 11-4, 11-9), the highest rated plater on qualification duty.

A surprise first place, it was same lower down the order for the Chinese Taipei quartet of Cheng Pu-Syuan, Chu Yi-Ching, Lee Wan-Hsuan and Liang Yuan-Ting. Likewise against the odds it was top spot for Charlotte Lutz of France, Korea Republic’s Kim Jimin, as well as for Japan’s Haruna Sugita, Sweden’s Nomin Baasan, Hong Kong’s Poon Yat and Germany’s Naomi Pranjkovic.

Seeds fall

Surprises in the junior boys’ singles event with Chinese players in form; it was the same in the junior boys’ doubles.

Cao Yantao and Liang Gudong, the no.20 seeds, beat Poland’s Maciej Kubik and Samuel Kulczycki, the top seeds (11-5, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5) to reserve their place in the penultimate round. Likewise in the second round, colleagues Quan Kaiyuan and Xing Mengyang, the no.10 seeds, accounted for India’s Payas Jain and Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the no.3 seeds (7-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-3), before in the quarter-finals ousting Russia’s Rusian Cherkes and Maksim Grebnev, the no.9 seeds (11-3, 11-4, 11-5).

Similarly, Italy’s Tommas Giovannetti and John Oyebode upset the order of merit. The no.17 seeds, they recorded a second round win against Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Jen and Tai Ming-Wei, the no.4 seeds (6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5), prior to reserving their semi-final place courtesy of success in opposition to Hungary’s Csaba Andras and Patrik Juhasz, the no.5 seeds (7-11, 13-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6).

Success against the odds for Italy, it was the very same for Chinese Taipei; Feng Yi-Hsin and Li Hsin-Yu, the no.8 seeds, recorded a four games quarter-final margin of victory against Belgium’s Olav Kosolsky and Adrien Rassenfosse (8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6).

At the semi-final stage Cao Yantao and Liang Gudong meet Tommas Giovannetti and John Oyebode; Quan Kaiyuan and Xing Mengyang face Quan Kaiyuan and Xing Mengyang.

Progress as anticipated

Likewise in the junior girls’ doubles event, China was to the fore but as anticipated. Wu Yangchen and Zang Xiatong, the top seeds, duly advanced as expected, a situation that applied also to colleagues, Chen Yi and Kuai Man, the no.4 seeds.

In a similar vein, the French pairing of Camille Lutz and Prithika Pavade, the no.2 seeds, progressed but there was no place in the last four for India’s Diya Parag Chitale and Swastika Ghosh, the no.3 seeds. They experienced an opening round defeat by the very narrowest of margins at the hands of Romania’s Ioana Singeorzan and Hungary’s Dorottya Tolgyes (11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 13-11). Ioana Singeorzan and Dorottya Tolgyes duly suffered in the third round, losing to Japan’s Misa Inayoshi and Haruna Sugita (12-10, 11-5, 10-12, 11-5), the quarter-final winners in opposition to Romania’s Tania Plaian and Elena Zaharia (11-8, 11-8, 15-13).

Now, in the penultimate round Wu Yangchen and Zang Xiatong confront Misa Inayoshi and Haruna Sugita, Camille Lutz and Prithika Pavade face Chen Yi and Kuai Man.

The junior boys’ singles, junior girls’ singles, junior boys’ doubles and junior girls’ doubles events conclude on Thursday 19th September.

World Junior Circuit China

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