05 Dec 2021

Podium places at stake, highly seeded pairs fell like ninepins, as proceedings advanced to the semi-final stage of the doubles events in the under 19 age group at the 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships in Vila Nova de Gaia on Saturday 4th December.

Pairs that had started the day with high aspirations ended the day licking their wounds.

by Ian Marshall

In fact, it was only in the boys’ doubles that partnerships who started matters amongst the top four names survived; Romania’s Darius Movileanu and Eduard Ionescu, the no.2 seeds, meet the combination of Hungary’s Ivor Ban and Csaba Andras, the no.4 seeds, for a place in the final.

Awaiting in the title decider will be either Russia’s Maksim Grebnev and Vladimir Sidorenko, the no.9 seeds, or the combination of Peru’s Carlos Fernandez and Nigeria’s Taiwo Matti, the no.14 seeds.

“This is a dream come true, I was not thinking on winning a medal, I cannot believe this is real! Now we will fight our hardest to win. It makes me so proud because to win a medal for Peru in a World Championship is unbelievable.” Carlos Fernandez

At the quarter-final stage Maksim Grebnev and Vladimir Sidorenko beat the formation of Germany’s Kay Stumper and Japan’s Hiroto Shinozuka, the top seeds (11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5).

Somewhat differently, having gained an opening round walk-over when due to face Belgium’s Louis Laffineur and Adrien Rassenfosse, the top seeds, Carlos Fernandez andTaiwo Matti emerged from the precipice of defeat to overcome Norway’s Borgar Haug and Italy’s John Oyebode, the no.7 seeds (5-11, 9-11, 16-14, 11-7, 11-9).

“I feel so good, I didn’t believe we could get to this stage. We just needed to gain some momentum and courage during the match because we were down 2-0. We just keep on fighting. I’m so happy for this!” Taiwo Matti

First round farewells

Problems for leading boys’ doubles pairs; the difficulties were even greater in the girls’ doubles; the leading four pairs all disappeared in round one!

Top seeds, Italy’s Jamila Laurenti and Romania’s Elena Zaharia experienced an opening round defeat at the hands of Japan’s Miyuu Kihara and Haruna Ojio, the no.11 seeds (11-5, 11-9, 12-10); one round later the Japanese pairing ousting Croatia’s Hana Arapovic and Sweden’s Rebecca Muskantor, the no.5 seeds (11-5, 11-9, 11-6) to reserve their semi-final place.

Miyuu Kihara and Haruna Ojio now meet China’s Kuai Man and Wu Yangchen, the 13 seeds.

Impressively they overcame India’s Diya Parag Chitale and Swastika Ghosh, the no.3 seeds (11-4, 12-10, 11-2), followed by success against Slovakia’s Adriana Illasova and Ukraine’s Anastasiya Dymytrenko, the no.12 seeds (11-1, 11-7, 11-1).

Unexpected semi-finalists; in the lower half of the girls’ doubles event, just the same. Rachel Sung and Amy Wang of the United States, the no.10 seeds, confront Chinese Taipei’s Cai Fong-En and Hsu Yi-Chen, the no.15 seeds.

Hard fought contests, Rachel Sung and Amy Wang beat Russia’s Elizabet Abraamian and Natalia Malinina, the top seeds (10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6), followed by success against Germany’s Sophia Klee and Naomi Pranjkovic, the no.9 seeds (11-6, 8-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5).

Likewise, Cai Fong-En and Hsu Yi-Chen overcame the French pairing of Camille Lutz and Prithika Pavade, the no.3 seeds (11-8, 13-11, 11-5), prior to ousting the combination of Australia’s Parleen Kaur and Egypt’s Hend Fathy, the no.16 seeds (11-8, 11-7, 11-6).

Quarter-final exits

Meanwhile, in the mixed doubles, the quarter-finals proved the nemesis on the majority of occasions for the most prominent combinations.

Romania’s Darius Movileanu and Elena Zhaharia, the top seeds, lost to the pairing of Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki and Prithika Pavade of France, the no.18 seeds (11-1, 11-6, 11-4).

“We are very happy, it’s the first time we have played together. We took the opportunities that we had, we had a good draw. Now we are exited to play for a place in the final”, Prithika Pavade

They now face China’s Xiang Peng and Kuai Man, the no.29 seeds, the winners against Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko and Elizabet Abraamian, the no.3 seeds (11-9, 7-11, 11-1, 12-10).

A Chinese pair in the top half of the draw, it is the same in the lower half; Zeng Beixun and Wu Yangchen, the no.30 seeds, face Japan’s Hiroto Shinosuka and Miyuu Kihara, the no.19 seeds.

At the quarter-final stage, Zeng Beixun and Wu Yangchen overcame, Germany’s Kay Stumper and Sophia Klee, the no.2 seeds (13-11, 11-9, 11-9); Hiroto Shinosuka and Miyuu Kihara ended the hopes of Canada’s Terence Yeung and Amy Wang of the United States, the no.25 seeds (11-3, 11-5, 11-5), the second round winners in opposition to the French pairing of Alexis Lebrun and Camille Lutz, the no.4 seeds (11-8, 7-11, 11-4,17-15, 13-11).

The mixed doubles semi-finals plus the first rounds of the boys’ singles and girls’ singles events will be played on Sunday 5thn December.


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