Traditional Rivals Meet in Final
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Koyo Kanamitsu led by example Photo By: Hisham Makram

Traditional Rivals Meet in Final, Asia Faces Europe for Boys’ Team Title

Traditional Rivals Meet in Final, Asia Faces Europe for Boys’ Team Title
2015 ITTF World Cadet Challenge
Courtesy of ITTF

Europe and Asia, the top two seeds in the Boys’ Team event at the 2015 ITTF Cadet Challenge, being staged in the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh, established their authority at the semi-final stage of proceedings on the morning of Tuesday October 27th.

Represented by Cristian Pletea, Truls Moregard and Medardas Stankevicious, Europe beat the North American trio of Victor Liu, Jack Wang and Jeremy Hazin by three matches to one.

Victor Liu (USA) - Photo courtesy of ITTF

Victor Liu (USA) – Photo courtesy of ITTF

Meanwhile, at the same time the Asian combination comprising Koyo Kanamitsu, Yang Shuo and Song Junjyun overcame the Latin American formation of Martin Bentancor, Rodrigo Hidalgo and Mariano Lockward by three matches to nil.

Backbone of Success
Mainstay of the European success was Cristian Pletea; he accounted for Victor Liu, in the opening match of the fixture by the very narrowest of five game margins (12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9), before Jack Wang overcame Truls Moregard (12-14, 11-8, 11-1, 11-5) to level proceedings.

Jack Wang (USA) - Photo courtesy of ITTF

Jack Wang (USA) – Photo courtesy of ITTF

The outcome in the balance; Medardas Stankevicius tipped the scales in favor of Europe by beating Jeremy Hazin (11-5, 11-7, 11-6), before Cristian Pletea returned to the table to bring matters to a conclusion. He overcame Jack Wang in four games (11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 12-10).

Jeremy Hazin (CAN) - Photo courtesy of ITTF

Jeremy Hazin (CAN) – Photo courtesy of ITTF

Seven Year Wait
“I won two difficult matches so now I feel amazing and confident for the final against Asia”, said Cristian Pletea. “I think the final is 50:50, it’s been a long time since Europe beat Asia; we want to change that!”

Is the seven year wait over? In 2008 in the Swedish city of Helsingborg, the outfit formed by the French duo of Simon Gauzy and Romain Lorentz, who joined forces with England’s Gavin Evans, clinched the title for Europe.

They recorded a three-nil win in the final against Team Asia, represented by Singapore’s Pang Xue Jie who partnered Korea’s Kim Donghyun and Sin Incheol,

Note in those days the policy of one player per national association in the European and Asian team was not applied.

“I was nervous in my match as he was a very good player, maybe better than me; I will try to get my concentration back for the final, I think we can win the final”, said Truls Moregard. “Cristian is very good now so I think he can win two matches and one of us can take one.”

A positive Truls Moregard; it was the same attitude from Medardas Stankevicius.

“I am very happy we are now in the final”, he stressed. “It was a great experience.”

Meanwhile, for Jack Wang he was philosophical in defeat.

“I played well in the first match against Truls but in the second match basically I had real trouble when he started attacking in my middle, after my middle he went back to my backhand and that made me slow and gave him the advantage”, said Jack Wang. “Also I kept rushing too much; that’s what I will try to avoid the next match, every match is important, I think I have to forget about the match I lost and focus on the coming match.”

Impressive Win
Success for Europe, at the same time it was a very impressive success for Asia against Latin America.

Koyo Kanamitsu gave Asia the perfect start by beating Martin Bentancor (11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9), Yang Shuo followed suit by overcoming Rodrigo Hidalgo (11-5, 12-10, 11-4) with Song Junjyun accounting for Mariano Lockward (11-7, 11-8, 11-6) to conclude matters.”

Fight for Every Point
“I think we did pretty well as a team in the semi-finals against Team Latin America just now, we didn’t think too much about the seeding and just went all out to fight for every point”, said Koyo Kamamitsu. “For my own match, I was too eager to win in the third game and that ended with unnecessary errors on my part; it gave my opponent the opportunity to take the game from me but I adjusted and took the fourth game to win my match.”

Koyo Kamamitsu led by example and like his European counterparts he is looking forward to the final.

“Next we will be facing Team Europe in the final, they are very strong but we are confident that we will be able to win”, he stressed. “I have met them on the Junior and Cadet Opens around the world so I’m quite familiar with them and their style of play.”

Third Place 
Defeat for Latin America at the semi-final stage, it was also defeat in the third place play-off fixture.

No changes to the semi-final line-up, the suffered a three-nil defeat at the hands of North America; however, both teams receive bronze medals.

The final is scheduled for later today at 6:00pm.

Watch the Team Semi-finals & Team Finals!

Visit ITTF for complete coverage of the 2015 ITTF World Cadet Challenge, plus photos on Flickr.

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