05 Dec 2021

Performances to take your breath away, Japan’s Miyuu Kihara and Haruna Ojio caused the biggest upsets as play commenced in the under 19 girls’ singles event at the 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships in Vila Nova de Gaia on Sunday 5th December.

Both totally belied their current status.

by Ian Marshall

The no.23 seed, Haruna Ojio accounted for Romania’s Elena Zaharia (11-2, 11-1, 11-9, 11-8), later in the day, in a similar manner, Miyuu Kihara, the no.17 seed, overcame Camille Lutz of France, the no.3 seed (11-7, 11-2, 11-6, 11-2).

Surprise results but not when the pedigree of the Japanese teenagers is considered.

At the 2019 Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Ulanbaataar, in the second round of the junior girls’ singles event, Haruna Ojio ousted China’s Shi Xunyao, the top seed, prior to losing to colleague and champion elect, Miyu Nagasaki.

Similarly, in 2019, Miyuu Kihara won the women’s singles title at the ITTF Challenge Croatia Open in Zagreb, before quite sensationally winning the women’s doubles title the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Zhengzhou when partnering Miyu Nagasaki.

Presence felt

Defeats for highly rated players in the opening round of the under 19 girls’ singles; there were more; Chinese teenagers making their presence felt.

Wu Yangchen, the no.25 seed, beat Croatia’s Hana Arapovic, the no.5 seed (6-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4); colleague Kuai Man, the no.27 seed, ended the hopes of Prithika Pavade of France, the no.15 seed (12-10, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4).

Success for China and Japan contrary to status, it was the same for the United States.

Rachel Sung, the no.21 seed, overcame Hungary’s Daria Helga, the no.8 seed (11-5, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8), Amy Wang, the no.19 seed, accounted for Sweden’s Rebecca Muskantor, the no.14 seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7).

Likewise, Chinese Taipei’s Cai Fong-En, the no.28 seed, ended the hopes of Russia’s Natalia Malinina, the no.13 seed (11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3), Portugal’s Ines Matos, the no.26 seed, prevailed in opposition to Germany’s Naomi Pranjkovic, the no.10 seed (12-10, 11-9, 15-13, 11-4).

The end result, of the leading eight names, only four survived the first round. Russia’s Elizabet Abraamian, the no.2 seed, India’s Swastika Ghosh, the no.4 seed and Turkey’s Ece Harac, the no.6 seed, duly progressed, as did Diya Parag Chitale, the no.8 seed and also from India, survived the opening round.

“I’m really happy! Now, I will watch the video of my next opponent (Ioanna Singeorzan) and I will be prepared mentally because I think that is very important, so I just want to go there and give my best.” Diya Parag Chitale

“I’m really happy that I won my first singles match. My next match is against Sophia Klee form Germany, I have played her before, it was a close match, this time I will try my best to win.” Ece Harac

China upsets seeding

Upsets caused by China in the opening round of the under 19 girls’ singles event; it was the same in the counterpart boys’ singles competition.

Xiang Peng, the no.29 seed and winner two years ago at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Korat, beat the Czech Republic’s Simon Belik, the no.12 seed (7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7, 11-4); Zeng Beixun, the no.31 seed, overcame Belgium’s Louis Laffineur, the no.11 seed (11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 13-11).

Meanwhile, Portugal’s Tiago Li, the no.32 seed, upset the order of merit by overcoming Slovakia’s Adam Klajber, the no.16 seed, by the very narrowest of decisions (10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 13-15, 12-10); Russia’s Maksym Grebnev, the no.18 seed, caused arguably the biggest upset of the opening round by beating Frenchman, Alexis Lebrun, the no.8 seed (5-11, 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6).

Success for leading names

Defeat for Alexis Lebrun but for the other leading names it was success; Germany’s Kay Stumper, Romania’s Darius Movileanu, India’s Payas Jain and Croatia’s Ivor Ban booked second round places, as did Norway’s Borgar Haug, Belgium’s Adrien Rassenfosse and Eduard Ionescu, like Darius Movileanu from Romania.

Progress but for Ivor Ban, almost the end of the road; he needed the full seven games to beat Germany’s Daniel Rinderer, the no.22 seed (11-8, 11-7, 12-14, 11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 13-11).

“I’m amazed, it was a tough match and I could do better, I was leading 2-0 and 10-7 in the seventh game. I’m proud of myself that I could still manage to win the match. Now I just expect to play and feel good, the results will come.” Ivor Ban

Finalists known

The last 16 names realised in both the under 19 boys’ and girls’ singles event; in the under 19 mixed doubles the finalists are known.

In the matches that brought the day to an end, it was differing fortunes for China.

Xiang Peng and Kuai Man, the no.29 seeds, beat the combination of Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki and Prithika Pavade of France, the no.18 seeds (11-8, 11-3, 11-8); colleagues Zeng Beixun and Wu Yangchen, the no.30 seeds, experienced defeat at the hands of Japan’s Hiroto Shinozuka and Miyuu Kihara, the no.19 seeds (11-9, 12-10, 11-6).

“We are very happy about today’s game, we just played at our level. In the final we will try our best, we know the opponents are very good, so we will learn about them and then fight to win.” Kuai Man


The final of the mixed doubles will be played on Monday 6th December in addition to the semi-finals of both the boys’ doubles and girls’ doubles events as well as the second round of the boys’ singles and girls’ singles.

General News 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships

No results found.