06 Dec 2021

Present on all fronts, on Monday 6th December at the 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships in Vila Nova de Gaia, Japan’s Sora Matsushima and Miwa Harimoto reigned supreme.

Competing in the under 15 age group, they ended the day gold medallists, having earlier booked final places and upset the odds.

by Ian Marshall

Occupying the no.17 seeded position, they combined to secure the mixed doubles title, overcoming Romania’s Iulian Chirita and Bianca Mei Rosu, the no.4 seeds, at the final hurdle (6-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8).

The win came soon after Sora Matsushima had partnered Frenchman Felix Lebrun to boys’ doubles semi-final success against the combination of Chinese Taipei’s Chang Yu-An and Singapore’s Izaac Quek Yong, the no.4 seeds (11-9, 14-12, 11-7), and Miwa Harimoto had joined forces with Egypt’s Hana Goda to enjoy the same in the girls’ doubles.

Impressively, they overcame the combination of India’s Suhana Saini and Ukraine’s Veronika Matiunina, the no.3 seeds (11-6, 11-9, 11-3).

In the final Felix Lebrun and Sora Matsushima meet Russia’s Ilia Koniukov and Roman Vinogradov, the no.8 seeds, the somewhat surprise semi-final winners against Romania’s Iulian Chirita and Dragos Alexandru Bujor, the no.2 seeds (10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6).

Meanwhile, in the girls’ doubles, Germany’s Mia Griesel and Annett Kaufmann, the no.2 seeds, await; they recorded a penultimate round success when opposing the combination formed by Anna Hursey of Wales and Portugal’s Matilde Pinto, the no.4 seeds (11-4, 11-5, 11-5).

Upset seeding

Success for Sora Matsushima and Miwa Harimoto in the respective boys’ doubles and girls’ doubles events was as anticipated; both started play in the top seeded spot.

Conversely, in the boys’ singles and girls’ singles event, they upset the odds.

Seeded in the no.18 spot, Sora Matsushima caused the biggest upset of the day; in the boys’ singles second round, he best Iulian Chirita, the no.2 seed (9-11, 15-13, 13-15, 14-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8).

Similarly, at the same stage of the girls’ singles competition, Miwa Haromoto,the no.16 seed, ended the hopes of Ukraine’s Veronika Matiunina, the no.8 seed (11-4, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3).

Not alone

Wins contrary to status, Sora Matsushima and Miwa Harimoto were not alone.

In the boys’ singles, Russia’s Milosz Redzimski, the no.17 seed, beat Romania’s Dragos Alexandru Bujor 8-11, 11-4, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8); Germany’s Lleyton Ullmann, the no.15 seed, overcame Hungary’s David Szantos, the no.4 seed (6-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7).

Milosz Redzimski and David Szantos now meet in the quarter-finals, in the same half of the draw Frenchman Felix Lebrun, the top seed, faces Turkey’s Dursun Ugurcan, the no.16 seed, a player who has progressed without having to raise his racket in anger.

He received a walk-over in the opening round when due to face Portugal’s Rafael Kong, the no.23 seed; in the second round it was just the same in opposition to the Czech Republic’s Stepan Brhel, the no.7 seed.

Progress for Felix Lebrun as anticipated, it was the same in the lower half for Singapore’s Izaac Quek Yong, the no.3 seed, Belgium’s Tom Closset, the no.6 seed and Spain’s Daniel Berzosa, the no.8 seed.

“I’m feeling very happy, I won my first match in the singles event, it was a tough match, but I’m happy I could go through. It was my first singles match, so I had to adapt to many problems. Now, I’m in the quarter-finals and I hope to win.  I will just play my best.” Izaac Quek Yong

Izaac Quek Yong and Tom Closset now meet, Daniel Berzosa opposes Sora Matsushima.

Sophie Earley wins titanic contest

Surprise outcomes, in the girls’ singles second round, the upsets were less; the narrow success recorded by Ireland’s Sophie Earley, the no.14 seed against Anna Hursey of Wales (11-7, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 13-11) catching the eye.

“I’m still really really nervous, I can’t believe it! It was a crazy match, I’m really happy I could win the last set.” Sophie Earley

Sophie Earley now faces Miwa Harimoto; also, in the lower half of the draw Germany’s Annett Kaufmann, the no.2 seed, confronts Singapore’s Ser Lin Qian, the no.5 seed.

Intriguing contests await, in the top half of the draw, the same. Egypt’s Hana Goda, the top seed, confronts Germany’s Mia Griesel, the no.7 seed; India’s Suhana Saini, the no.4 seed, opposes Romania’s Buanca Mei Rosu, the n.6 seed.

“I feel very tired and very happy, I hope I can play my best and have fun while doing it, entertain the crowd and I really hope I can do a good result on this tournament”, Hana Goda

The quarter-finals of the boys’ singles and girls’ singles events in addition to the finals of the boys’ doubles and girls’ doubles will be played on Tuesday 7th December.










QUEK Yong Izaac after winning round of 16



Hana Goda after winning singles round of 16 and doubles semi-final


General News 2021 ITTF World Youth Championships

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