by Calvin Koh
Ranked 41st on the ITTF Table Tennis Youth Ranking, Naranjo defeated Israel’s Uri Almor in straight games 3-0 (11-5, 11-8, 11-8) before fighting back from two games down to beat Croatia’s Leon Benko 3-2 (9-11,7-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-2) in the qualifying rounds.
In his round of 32, the Puerto Rican took down Israeli’s Eitay Shushan 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-4) in straight games before ending his day on a high note with a 3-1 victory (11-7,11-7, 7-11, 11-6) over Germany’s Mike Hollo to set up a quarter-final clash with Romania’s Eduard Ionescu.
Ionescu, ranked 61st on the youth ranking, also safely progressed to the main draw after topping his qualifying group with wins over Hungary’s Balazs and Switzerland’s Timothy Falconnier. He then went the distance with Germany’s Tom Schweiger in his round of 32 before prevailing 3-2 (9-11, 2-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-5). The Romanian later enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win (12-10, 11-9, 12-10) over Croatia’s Borna Petek in their round of 16 clash.
Hungary’s Erik Huzsvar, who is ranked in 203rd place in the ITTF Table Tennis Youth Ranking, also progressed to the main draw where he beat Spain’s Daniel Berzosa 3-1 (11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3) before going on to dispatch Portugal Silas Monteiro 3-1 (7-11, 14-12, 11-1, 11-4) to meet Romania’s Andrei Teodor Istrate for a place in the semi-final.
Huzsvar, along with Naranjo and Ionescu are among the 178 youth players from 21 countries who are embarking on their table tennis journeys this week. As part of the WTT structure, these young and promising talents will set out to lay the foundation of their career pyramid where the pinnacle of success is the prestigious world number one crown.
To catch the matches Live, please visit https://www.youtube.com/worldtabletennis
About World Table Tennis
Successfully launched in 2021, WTT heralds a new era for professional table tennis with the new WTT Series showcasing the sport’s best and up-and-coming table tennis players in up to 34 events around the world. The WTT Series features four Grand Smashes as the pillars of the support, eight single-table, single-gender WTT Champions events, the WTT Contender Series and the season-ending WTT Cup Finals, all of which will entertain fans and inspire future generations of table tennis players. Complemented by the global WTT Youth Series, WTT creates a pathway that showcases the journey of a player from day one to World No. 1 through the ITTF Table Tennis World Rankings. For more information, please visit worldtabletennis.com.