Hung Tzu-Hsiang unbeaten at the United States Junior and Cadet Open
Photo By: Thomas Nguyen
2012 USA Junior & Cadet Open - ITTF Junior Circuit
Silver medallist at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August 2010, Chinese Taipei`s Hung Tzu-Hsiang added to his collection of silverware, by winning the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the United States Junior and Cadet Open in Grand Rapids on Wednesday 4th July 2012.
Occupying the no.1 seeded position, he accounted for Argentina’s Pablo Saragovi, the no.6 seed, in the semi-final (11-5, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6) before overcoming compatriot Hsu Chia-Liang, in the final (11-7, 12-10, 15-13, 6-11, 11-7).
Hsu Chia-Liang, the no.4 seed, beat Lai Yi-Yao, the no.5 seed, also from Chinese Taipei in the penultimate round (5-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9).
Seventh Career Crown
It was for Hung Tzu-Hsiang his third ITTF Junior Circuit title of the year and the seventh of his career.
Earlier in the year in January he emerged as the champion at the ITTF Junior Circuit Finals in Puerto Rico; then two months later he won in Lignano at the Italian Junior and Cadet Open.
Previously, he had won Junior Boys’ Singles titles in Tunisia in 2010; then in 2011, he succeeded in Hungary, Germany and once again in Tunisia.
Furthermore, not only did Hung Tzu-Hsiang win the Junior Boys’ Singles title, earlier on the final day he secured the Junior Boys’ Doubles crown, in harness with Lai Yi-Hao, to add to the Junior Boys’ Team title the pair had won earlier in the proceedings.
The top seeds, they accounted for Hsu Chia-Liang and Huang Lian-Chung, the no.2 seeds, in an all-Chinese Taipei final (11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6), having in the penultimate round accounted for the host nation’s Ethan Jin and Li Hengyu (11-7, 11-4, 11-4).
In the counterpart semi-final, Hsu Chia-Liang and Huang Lian-Chung had ended the hopes of Michael Landers and Li Grant, the no.3 seeds and also from the United States (11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6).
Also Three Titles
Three titles for Hung Tzu-Hsiang and it was three titles for colleague Yu Cheng-Feng, as Chinese Taipei completed a clean sweep of male titles.
Three days previously, Yu Cheng-Feng had partnered Chih De-Yang to gold in the Cadet Boys’ Team event; on the concluding day he both joined forces and opposed his colleague.
Seeded no.1, Yu Cheng-Feng beat Chih De-Yang at the semi-final stage of the Cadet Boys’ Singles event (11-2, 11-0, 11-3), before the duo combined to secure the Cadet Boys’ Doubles crown overcoming the second seeded American duo formed by Gong Tong Tong and Kanak Jha (11-8, 11-5, 11-4).
Cadet Boys’ Doubles Semi-Finals
Earlier, Chih De-Yang and Yu Cheng-Feng had beaten Canada’s Jeremy Hazin and Filip Ilijevski (11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4); whilst Gong Tong Tong and Kanak Jha had ousted the partnership comprising Canada’s Matthew Lehmann and Hong Kong’s Wong Ho Hin (11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9).
Success in the Cadet Boys’ Doubles event, Yu Cheng-Feng concluded his visit to Grand Rapids by overcoming the host nation’s Kanak Jha in the final of the Cadet Boys’ Singles competition.
Impressive Twelve Year Olds
However, just as he had found spirited resistance from Kunal Chodri one day earlier in the quarter-finals (11-5, 11-3, 10-12, 11-6); he experienced the same challenge in the final against Kanak Jha.
The no.3 seed, Kanak Jha is 12 years old as is Kunal Chodri, but in table tennis terms one year younger; both are members of a very exciting group of young players emanating from the United States and in Grand Rapids, they were the only players to cause Yu Cheng-Feng food for thought.
Kanak Jha, the no.3 seed in the Cadet Boys’ Singles event, having beaten compatriot Allen Wang in the semi-finals (5-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8), posed problems for 14 year old Yu Cheng-Feng.
However, the challenge was resisted, Yu Cheng-Feng won in four games (11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6) and left American shores with three gold medals to add to his growing collection.
Richard Heo’s Matches of the Day
Cadet Boys’ Doubles Final: Chih De-Yang and Yu Cheng-Feng Yu (TPE) v Gong Tong Tong and Kanak Jha 11-6, 11-5, 11-4
Richard Heo: How well did you feel you were playing together for this final?
Chih De-Yang: I felt we were playing very well today.
Richard Heo: What did you feel was strong for during the match?
Chih De-Yang: I felt our serves were strong during the match.
Richard Heo: Was there anything you had trouble with?
Chih De-Yang: I felt that my attack was not consistent enough. I felt that I wasn’t matching my partner Yu’s attack.
Junior Boys' Doubles Final: Hung Tzu-Hsiang Hung and Lai Yi-Yao (TPE) v Hsu Chia-Liang and Huang Lien-Chung Huang 11-7, 12-10, 15-13, 6-11, 11-7
Richard Heo: What did you find most difficult during the match?
Hung Tzu-Hsiang: We’re all team mates and we know each other’s game so well, so it’s hard for us to win.
Richard Heo: What were your opponents strengths?
Hung Tzu-Hsiang: Hsu and Huang’s tactics were very smart because they would try to put the ball more towards my partner Lai because his attack is weaker.
Richard Heo: What were you discussing to win the match?
Hung Tzu-Hsiang: We just told ourselves to play normally and not play over aggressive because we knew that overall our game is stronger than our opponents Hsu and Huang.
Cadet Boys’ Singles Final: Yu Cheng-Feng (TPE) v Kanak Jha (USA)11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6
Richard Heo: How do you feel you played this match?
Yu Cheng-Feng: I felt I played pretty well. I was happy with my performance.
Richard Heo: What do you feel was strong about Jha’s play?
Yu Cheng-Feng: Jha’s play is very consistent. He also has a very nice backhand.
Richard Heo: Was there a critical point in the match that you felt you needed to step up your game?
Yu Cheng-Feng: After the second game I decided to change up my service to keep up the attack.
Junior Boys’ Singles Final: Tzu-Hsiang Hung (TPE) v Chia-Liang Hsu (TPE) 11-7, 12-10, 15-13, 6-11, 11-7
Richard Heo: How was Hsu playing differently to win the fourth set?
Hung Tzu-Hsiang: Hsu changed his service up to try and get his attack in more often which I think was the right thing to do for him.
Richard Heo: What are the strengths of your opponent Hsu?
Hung Tzu-Hsiang: He has a very strong third ball attack. He is able to open up the attack which is what caused us to rally so often.
Richard Heo: Was there a point in the match that you were finding difficult?
Hung Tzu-Hsiang: Throughout the whole match because we are so familiar with each other, my opponent Hsu was anticipating my shots very well.