BY MATT HETHERINGTON, USATT
US Run at World Junior Champs Comes to an End
Crystal Wang was the last player standing at the ITTF World Junior Championships in Cape Town from the USA contingent. She reached the last 16 of the Junior Girls Singles after a brilliant and convincing Round of 32 4-0 win over Russia’s Maria Tailakova, currently ranked 167 in the World on the ITTF Women’s World Ranking, a very impressive victory especially by such a margin.
In her Round of 32 match Amy Wang almost made it past the post against Puerto Rico’s international star Adriana Diaz who is currently ranked in the top 100 players in the World. It was Wang who struck early and despite leveling in the 2nd, the US player soared off to a 3-1 lead. Just one game away from defeating Diaz who reached a height of 80th in the world this year in June, it would have been the perfect upset. Unfortunately the Puerto Rican had plenty more tricks up her sleeve and battled her way back into the match to take the next 3 games and seal a 4-3 victory. An incredible performance from Amy Wang nonetheless and a sign of promising things to continue coming.
The Boys Singles Round of 32 saw Rio Olympian and star performer Kanak Jha bow out in a 4-1 match with China’s Xu Haidong. The Chinese penholder was a finalist at this year’s China Cadet and Junior Open and showed incredible ability. Further down on the bottom half Victor Liu also met his match against Germany’s Tobias Hippler who won the match in 5 games also.
With 3 of the Round of 32 players eliminated it was only Crystal Wang who remained going into the third round. She held a 2-1 lead early on over South Korean Kim Jiho but it was the Korean player who took control of the match and swung a 4-2 victory.
A good showing from all of our junior players. The draws are now at the semifinal stages and exciting showdowns remain. Stay tuned!