Masahiro Otsuka caused the biggest shock of the day and arguably the biggest of the whole tournament
Photo By: Donald Chin
Nikon 2012 Hong Kong Junior & Cadet Open - ITTF Premium Junior Circuit
Competition for places is a healthy sign and securing a place in a Japanese team of whatever age would seem to becoming more and more difficult; a fact that was clearly underlined at the Nikon Hong Kong Junior and Cadet Open on Saturday 18th August 2012.
Tonin Ryuzaki and Masahiro Otsuka, both born in 1998, the former in April, the latter in December, were the players to shine as the Junior Boys’ Singles event progressed to the quarter-final stage on the penultimate day of action in the Queen Elizabeth Stadium.
Masahiro Otsuka excelled all expectations and, in so doing saddened the hearts of the host association.
He beat their leading junior boy and third seed, Chiu Ching Hei in the second round by the narrowest of margins in a titanic struggle (6-11, 4-11, 11-9, 15-13, 17-19, 11-9, 11-9).
Similarly, Tonin Ryuzaki caught the attention of all concerned in the splendid Queen Elizabeth Stadium.
He accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Chia-Liang, the eighth seed, but in much less dramatic circumstances. He posted a straight games win (12-10, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10).
No Upset in Reality
Two upsets and there was arguably one more; an upset according to seeding but not according to reality.
China’s Zhang Jiete, who had upset matters in the group stage of proceedings one day earlier by beating Chinese Taipei’s Lee Chia-Sheng, duly booked his place in the quarter-finals.
He recorded a a straight games win (11-5, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8) over Chinese Taipei’s Lia Chen-Ting, the ninth seed, to reserve his last place.
Only One of Top Eight Remains
The end result is that the lower half of the draw sees only one of the top eight seeded players still standing.
Singapore’s Clarence Chew, the no.7 seed, is the young man in question. He beat Chinese Taipei’s Chiu Yu-Chih (11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 11-2) and now meets Zhang Jiete.
In the other quarter-final duel in the lower half of the draw, Tonin Ryuzaki and Masahiro Otsuka confront each other.
Tonin Ryuzaki in outstanding form in the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong
Photo by Michael Tse
Surprises in the lower half of the draw as matters progressed in the Junior Boys’ Singles event to the round of the last eight but not in the top half.
Lee Chia-Sheng, the second seed, who had finished in runners up spot in his group behind Zhang Jiete, beat colleague Wen Wei-Chieh, the sixth seed (7-11, 11-3, 11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 11-8) to reach the quarter-finals. He now meets China’s Liang Jingkun, the top seed who halted any further Japanese giant killing acts by posting a straight games win over 15 year old Tomo Miyazaki (11-1, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9).
Success as predicted
Success as predicted for Lee Chia-Sheng and Liang Jingkun. It was also second round success and a place in the quarter-finals for Singapore’s Xin Zhaoxu, the fourth seed and China’s Yu Ziyang, the fifth seed.
Xin Zhaoxu beat Japan’s 14 year old Ryotaro Ogata (11-3, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7), whilst Yu Ziyang ended the progress of Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Chia-Yen (11-5, 11-7, 12-14, 15-13, 11-3). The two meet in the quarter-finals.
Three upsets in the Junior Boys’ Singles event on the fourth day of play; in the Cadet Boys’ Singles competition there was just one of note as play progressed to the semi-final stage.
Singapore’s Yin Jing Yuan was beaten in the quarter-finals by Chinese Taipei’s Wen Yi-Cheng in a full distance five games duel (11-8, 5-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-7).
Wen Yi-Cheng who caused a surprise by beating Yin Jing Yuan
Photo by Raymond Lam
According to Seeding
Otherwise, matters went as per the pecking order.
Hong Kong’s Hung Ka Tak, the top seed, overcame Singapore’s Tay Ming Han Maxxe (11-4, 11-5, 12-10) to reach the semi-finals and now meets Chinese Taipei’s Yu Cheng-Feng. He booked his place in the last four by defeating the host association’s Tang Hoi Yen (11-9, 11-8, 11-7).
Second Chinese Taipei Representative
One representative from Chinese Taipei in the semi-finals and there is a second; Yang Heng-Wei ended the hopes Thailand’s Komgrit Sangpao (11-3, 11-5, 11-8) to reach the penultimate round where he meets Wen Yi-Cheng.
Three of the top four seeds through to the semi-finals of the Cadet Boys’ Singles event and it is the same situation in both the Junior Boys’ Doubles and Cadet Boys’ Doubles competitions.
The one casualty in the Junior Boys’ Doubles event was the second seeded Chinese Taipei duo of Lee Chia-Sheng and Liao Chong-Ting; they suffered a quarter-final defeat at the hands the in- form Japanese duo of Ryotaro Ogata and Tonin Ryuzaki (6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6).
Defeat for the second seeds in the Junior Boys’ Doubles event, in the Cadet Boys’ Doubles, it was the fourth seeds who failed to make their allotted place in the draw. Singapore’s Edric Lim Zheng Jie and Ethan Poh Shao Feng suffered an opening round defeat at the hands of Hong Kong’s Chiu Hoi Man and Tsoi Kai Wai (11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9).
Chiu Hoi Man caused a doubles upset in partnership with Kai Wai
Photo by Michael Tse
The Hong Kong pair duly maintained their form in the next round, the quarter-finals, where they overcame Chinese Taipei’s Lai Chi-Chien and Wen Yi-Cheng (11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 5-11, 11-8).
At the semi-final stage, Chiu Hoi Man and Tsoi Kai Wai meet colleagues and top seeds Hung Ka Tak and Lee Yat Hin; whilst in the lower half of the draw, Chinese Taipei’s Yang Heng-Wei and Yu Cheng-Feng, the second seeds, confront Hong Kong’s Kwan Man Ho and Tang Hoi Yen, the second seeds.
Meanwhile, in the counterpart Junior Boys’ Doubles event, the penultimate round sees China’s Liang Jingkun and Yu Ziyang, the top seeds confront Singapore’s Clarence Chew and Xin Zhaoxu, the third seeds, with the adjacent half of the draw, witnessing a contest involving the Japanese pairing of Ryotaro Ogata and Eonin Ryuzaki.
They meet Hong Kong’s Chiu Chung Hei and Li Hon Ming, the fourth seeds.
The tournament concludes on Sunday 19th August 2012.
Li Hong Ming successfully through to the Junior Boys’ Doubles semi-finals with Ciuh Chung Hei
Photo by Patrick Wong