(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager)
Different journeys but top seeds claim Luxembourg titles
A rocky road for Kanak Jha of the United States, rather more smooth for Maki Shiomi, precedence prevailed in the respective Boys’ Singles and Girls’ Singles events at the Luxembourg 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals on Sunday 4th February.
The top seeds, at the close of play that status was justified as titles were claimed.
At the final hurdle Kanak Jha beat India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, the no.3 seed, in a full distance seven games encounter (9-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-6).
Victory but very nearly Kanak Jha did not qualify for the main draw, he finished in first place in his initial stage group securing the position on games ratio. In his opening contest of the whole tournament he was beaten by Egypt’s Youssef Abdel-Aziz (5-11, 13-11, 11-3, 7-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7).
Meanwhile, for Maki Shiomi she emerged the one player to progress unbeaten throughout the whole tournament; in the final she overcame Chinese Taipei’s Su Pei-Ling, the no.4 seed; an impressive straight games win was the order of the day (11-9, 11-6, 13-11, 11-7).
Thus for Maki Shiomi on the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit it was first and last; one year ago she had won in the Czech Republic, the first tournament on the year’s calendar. Later she was also to win in Sweden, India and Spain; an impressive year.
It was the first time that the finalists in both events had met on the international scene.
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