09 Nov 2019

China progressed as did Belgium but amongst the top eight outfits on duty in the junior boys’ team event at the 2019 Hungarian Junior and Cadet Open in Szombathely, when play concluded on the evening Friday 8th November, they stood alone.

In a competition where only first place in the group secured progress; they emerged the only seeds to book quarter-final places.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Represented by Liang Guodong, Zeng Beixun and Quan Kaiyuan, the no.2 seeds, the Chinese trio secured first place in their group; similarly Belgium’s Adrien Rassenfosse, Nicolas Degros and Louis Laffineur justified their no.7 seeded spot.

“The key to success today was to focus on each and every point. The atmosphere here is really good, everyone is helpful. We only have to concentrate on our strategies” Quan Kaiyuan

Success for China and Belgium but they were the exceptions to the rule. Most significantly the top seeds, the Chinese Taipei trio comprising Tai Ming-Wei, Huang Yan-Cheng and Li Hsin-Yu experienced a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Russia’s Maksim Kaburkin, Damir Akhmetsafin and Dinar Iusupov.

Architect of the defeat was Damir Akhmetsafin. He accounted for Huang Yan-Cheng (11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 12-10) and Tai Ming-Wei (12-10, 11-8, 13-15, 14-12); the wins paving the way for Maksim Kaburkin to be the hero of the hour. In the vital fifth and deciding match, he beat Huang Yan-Chang (11-5, 11-9, 11-7).

“It feels good to be the winner of this match, as we played against the strongest team in this tournament. We had good tactics and worked well as a team. We want to win the next matches, as well, we would like to be on top of the podium.” Damir Alhmetsafin

Russia celebrates, Maksim Kaburkin beats Huang Yan-Chang to secure victory (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Germany bids farewell

Disappointment for Chinese Taipei and thus farewell, it was the same for the no.3 seeds, Germany’s Kay Stumper, Felix Wetzell and Daniel Rinderer, as it was for the no.4 seeds, the Czech Republic trio formed by Simon Belik, Tomas Martinko and Frantisek Onderka. Both experienced 3-1 defeats; Germany at the hands of Spain’s Albert Viladrell, Marc Gutierrez and Arnau Pons, the Czech Republic when confronting Poland’s Lukasz Sokolowski, Symon Kolasa and Kuba Kwapis.

“It was one of the greatest experience of our careers. We played fantastically as a team, everybody played his best. We did a fantastic job against one of the most highly ranked teams in this tournament, so it is especially a great achievement for today.” Albert Viladrell

Contrary to status, first places secured courtesy of unbeaten performances for Russia, Spain and Poland; it was the same for France, Croatia as well as for the international combination comprising Japan’s Seu Goto, Israel’s Tal Israeli and Sokratis Giannoutsos of Greece.

On duty for France, Alexis Lebrun, Fabio Rakotoarimana and Alexis Kouraichi recorded a 3-0 win against the no.5 seeds, the United States trio of Michael Minh Tran, Kai Zarehbin and Nikhil Kumar; in a somewhat similar manner Seo Goto, Tal Israeli and Sokratis Giannoutsos enjoyed a 3-1 margin of victory when facing the no.6 seeds, the host nation’s Oliver Both, Csaba Andras and Akos Kishegyi.

Imposing performances, not to be outdone, the Croatian trio comprising Leon Santek, Ivor Ban and Borna Petek registered a 3-0 success in opposition the no.8 seeds, Italy’s Andrea Puppo, John Oyebode and Marcio Cappuccino.

First place contrary to seeding for Leon Santek alongside Ivor Ban and Borna Petek (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
A lesser extent

Surprise first places in the junior boys’ team event, in the counterpart junior girls’ competition, where likewise only top spot secured progress to the main draw, there also unexpected first positions but not to the same extent.

Arguably no great surprise following the girls’ singles which witnessed Wang Tianyi beating Li Yake in the final, the duo combined with Chinese colleague Li Yuqi, to secure first position; the key contest being the 3-1 win in opposition to the no.2 seeds, the Russian combination of Arina Slautina, Elizabet Abraamian and Luibov Tentser. The one win for the Russians accrued in the opening match of the fixture when Arina Slautina distinguished herself; she beat Wang Tianyi (11-6, 11-5, 11-5).

Disappointment for Russia, it was the same for the no.3 seeds, the Italian outfit comprising Jamila Laurenti, Adriana Barani and Elisa Amanini; they experienced a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the French formation of Julie Pennec, Lucie Mobarek and Hanitra Raharimanana.

“Despite the fact, that France was seeded lower than us, it was not a surprise that they could win the match. We should have played a lot better, however, we could not take the lead, not once. I hope we can make a better performance in the future, there is a lot to improve.” Adriana Barani

Arina Slautina distinguished herself by beating Wang Tianyi (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Seeds progress

Otherwise, in competition that witnessed six groups in the initial phase it was a day without defeat and first place in the group for the leading teams. Top seeds, Chinese Taipei, who selected from Chien Tung-Chuan, Yu Hsiu-Ting, Lee Wan-Hsuan and Chien Yu-Chien, duly secured firsr position as did the no.4 seeds, Germany’s Sophia Klee, Anastasia Bondareva, Lionie Berger and Naomi Pranjkovic.

“Everybody had ups and downs during the matches but we overcame the most difficult moments. We won as a team, this was the secret behind our victory. We are really proud of ourselves as a team. If we can maintain this performance, it can earn us the semi-finals or even a greater success. However, China seems unbeatable, so it would be a surprise to make it to the final.” Sophia Klee

Similarly, it was first place without defeat for the no.5 seeds, the Belarus outfit comprising Darya Kisel, Ulyana Aljouskaya and Karyna Padiazhanets; a situation that applied also to the no.6 seeds, Romania’s Luciana Mitrofan, Elena Zaharia, Denisa Uritu and Ioana Singeorzan.

Alongside Luciana Mitrofan, Elena Zaharia and Ioana Singeorzan, it was first place in the group stage for Denisa Uritu (Photo: Richard KalocsaI
Top places for top outfits

Unexpected success, it was no different in the cadet boys’ team and cadet girls’ team events. In both competitions, the top seeds ended the day occupying first places. For the boys, the Romanian squad comprising Iulian Chirita, Darius Movileanu, Paul Szilagyi, Dragos Alexandru Bujor and Horia Stefan Ursut enjoyed a trouble free day, as to the delight of the host nation did the no.4 seeds, Hungary’s Erk Huzsvar and David Szantosi.

“Playing in front of Hungarian spectators gives us a special motivation for this competition. We will give our best to thank these people for coming to see us. As we are seeded fourth, we hope to be on the podium at the end of the day. I always enjoy playing against Asians. They have a special style and I can learn a lot from playing against them. My teammate and I have a great relationship, we can say that it is also a friendship.” Erik Husvar

Likewise the girls top seeded combination of Egypt’s Hana Goda and Ireland’s Sophie Earley reserved first place, as amongst leading outfits did the no.3 seeds, the Chinese Taipei duo of Tsai Yun-En and Chu Yi-Ching.

However, contrary to seeding, in the boys’ competition, the Chinese quartet comprising Hu Dongshen, Yang Quiong, Tao Yuchang and Zhang Minghao secured first place; an outcome that applied also to Korea Republic’s Lim Yuoh and Oh Junsung.

Meanwhile, in the girls’ event, the number of top spots against the odds was far greater. Russia’s Anastasia Sizova and Vasilia Danilov upset the pecking order to secure first position, as did Portugal’s Matilde Pinto and Ines Gonçalves alongside Korea Republic’s Lee Daeun, Lim Hyeonhui and Lee Jeongyeon. Likewise, China’s Sun Xiaomeng, Lee Yutong and Qin Yuxuan, defied the status quo to clinch first place, an outcome that was also the lot of Belgium’s Julie Van Hauwaert and Sara Devos.

A surprise first group place in the cadet girls’ team event for Matilde Pinto and Ines Gonçalves (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)


Similar to the junior events, in the cadet competition only first place secured progress to the main draw; play in all team events concludes on Saturday 9th November.

World Junior Circuit 2019 Hungarian Junior & Cadet Open Damir Akhmetsafin

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Day 5 - 2019 ITTF Hungarian J&C Open