(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor)
Once again Japanese teenagers beat World champions
Lightning does not strike twice or say they say; at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open in the city of Magdeburg on Friday 10 November it struck again.
The electrical storm in question was that of Japan’s 14 year old Tomokazu Harimoto and 18 years of age Yuto Kizukuri; not seeded, required to compete in the qualification tournament, at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Doubles event, they beat China’s Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the no.2 seeds and reigning World champions.
Earlier in the year in late June, at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour China Open, at the semi-final stage of the Men’s Doubles event, Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri sensationally beat Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin, the top seeds. They emerged successful in a dramatic five games duel (6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 14-12).
Surely when the pair met again the Chinese duo, stung by the reverse would extract revenge? A top Chinese player or pair losing to an opponent from foreign shores is not a too frequent experience, the same outcome in consecutive contests in modern times is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
In Magdeburg, not only did the Japanese teenagers repeat their Chengdu success, they repeated the success in four straight games (13-11, 12-10, 11-6).
The win rather overshadowed further upsets in the quarter-finals of the Men’s Doubles event in Magdeburg.
In an equally impressive manner, the hitherto untried combination of Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang and China’s Yu Ziyang, like Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri required to compete in the qualification tournament, had the previous day ousted top seeds, Japan’s Koki Niwa and Jin Ueda (14-12, 11-6, 11-4). They repeated the performance. They accounted for Singapore’s Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie (11-5, 11-5, 11-9).
Success for Hong Kong and there was further success for the Special Administrative Region of China; furthermore it was a success that upset the order of merit. Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, the no.6 seeds, beat Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi, the no.4 seeds (11-6, 11-8, 11-4).
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