2019 ITTF World Junior Circuit
Thursday 19th September
Four titles for China, Niu Guankai and Kuai Man win in Varazdin
Niu Guankai and Kuai Man won the respective junior boys’ singles and junior girls’ singles titles at the 2019 Croatia Junior and Cadet Open in Varazdin on Thursday 19th September, a day when China dominated proceedings.
Likewise, Cao Yantao and Liang Guodong secured junior boys’ doubles gold, Wu Yangchen and Zang Xiaotong emerged the junior girls’ doubles champions.
Required to qualify, in the final Niu Guankai accounted for colleague, Chen Yuanyu, the no.15 seed (11-8, 13-11, 11-8, 11-9). Earlier in round three he ousted Hungary’s Csaba Andras, the no.4 seed (11-1, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6), prior to overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Tai Ming-Wei, the no.9 seed (11-8, 14-12, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6) and colleague, Quan Kaiyuan (9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5) to reach the penultimate round. In an impressive manner, he ousted compatriot Liang Guodong (11-13, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7, 6-11, 11-1), the third round winner in opposition to India’s Manush Utpalbhai Shah, the no.2 seed (11-6, 6-11, 9-11, 12-10, 4-11, 12-10, 12-10).
Hard fought success for Niu Guankai, it was even harder for Kuai Man; the no.10 seed. She secured the title at the hands of teammate Chen Yi, emerging victorious by the very narrowest of decisions in a quite dramatic final (11-2, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 14-12).
Success by the very narrowest of margins; for Kuai Man, en route the final life was less demanding. In the third round she beat Italy’s Jamila Laurenti, the top seed (11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8), before ousting colleagues Leng Yutong (14-12, 11-2, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7) and Yuan Yuan, the no.6 seed (11-1, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5) to reach the final. Imposingly at the quarter-final stage Yuan Yuan had accounted for Darya Kisel of Belarus, the no.13 seed (11-8, 9-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-7) and surprise third round winner in opposition to India’s Swastika Ghosh, the no.4 seed (5-11, 11-7, 10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-7).
Most authoritative from Kuai Man, the journey to the final was somewhat more exacting for Chen Yi; at the quarter-final stage she beat Prithika Pavade of France, the no.2 seed (14-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7), prior to overcoming colleague, Zang Xiaotong , the no.3 seed, in a full distance contest (7-11, 7-11, 15-13, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5).
Disappointment for Zang Xiaotong but in the junior girls’ doubles it was success; partnering Wu Yangchen, the top seeds, they overcame the French pairing of Camille Lutz and Prithika Pavade, the no.2 seeds in a contest decided by the minimal two point margin in a tension packed fifth game (10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 16-14) to seal the title.
Gold for the top seeds, in the junior boys’ doubles event, it was gold for the no.20 seeds. Cao Yantao and Liang Guodong beat Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin and Li Hsin-Yu, the no.8 seeds 912-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9) to seal the title.
Play now continues with the team events in both the junior and cadet age group categories.