Zhang Kai Maintains Record
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Zhang Kai Maintains Record: Zhang Kai one hundred per cent success record Photo By: Rita Tarboda

Zhang Kai Maintains Record, Two Appearances Two Titles

Zhang Kai Maintains Record, Two Appearances Two Titles
2015 Portugal Junior and Cadet Open
Courtesy of ITTF

November 19, 2015 – Two appearances on this year’s ITTF Junior Circuit, two wins; successful in June in Canada, Zhang Kai maintained his unblemished record to win the Junior Boys’ Singles title at the 2015 Portugal Junior and Cadet Open in Loule on Thursday November 19th.

However, the 18 year old from the United States came perilously close, within a whisper of having to settle for the second step of the podium.

The concluding ITTF Junior Boys’ Singles final of the year proved be the closest of all 30 such encounters. Zhang Kai, the no.3 seed, emerged victorious against surprise finalist, Turkey’s Batuhan Ulucak, the no.11 seed, in a titanic final decided by the minimal margin in the crucial concluding seventh game (6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-13, 11-3, 7-11, 16-14).

Earlier Matches
A closely fought final, earlier in the proceedings Zhang Kai had accounted for Turkey’s Abdullah Yigenler, the no.16 seed, 11-8, 11-5, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8), prior to recording a quarter-final success against Qatar’s Abdulrahman Al-Naggar, the no.7 seed (9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8) and semi-final victory over Russia’s Maxim Chaplygin, the top seed (11-6, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7).

Major Upset
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, Batuhan Ulucak had caused a major third round upset by beating England’s Helshan Weerasinghe, the no.2 seed (8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7) to book his quarter-final.

Good form, an impressive win; that good form continued. He ousted Spain’s Carlos Vedriel, the no.5 seed (13-11, 4-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-9, 11-3) and Chinese Taipei’s Lai Chi-Chien, the no.4 seed (12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9) to reserve his place in the final.

Again Runners Up Spot
The runners up spot for Batuhan Ulucak in the Junior Boys’ Singles event; it was the same in the Junior Boys’ Doubles competition.

Partnering Abdullah Yigenlev, the duo suffered defeat in the final in opposition to the French combination of Hugo Batocchi and Benji Capello (10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-3), having in the penultimate round accounted for the formation of the Slovak Republic’s Adam Brat and Poland’s Maciej Kubik (11-5, 7-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-4).

In the counterpart semi-final, Hugo Batocchi and Benji Capello had caused Turkey more pain by beating Umut Emre Bassan and Zihni Sahin (11-9, 11-9, 11-2).

Difficult Start
“At the beginning of the final the match was very hard but then we were able to dominate the match”, said Benji Capello. “We’ve done very well, I want to dedicate this victory to my family to all the people who have helped me; I want to thank them all.”

Not the best of starts but then answers found; that was also the view of Hugo Batocchi.

“We’ve started the game very badly, we lost the first game but we found a tactic that enabled us to dominate the match in all aspects and we played well”, added Hugo Batoochi. “It’s my first victory in a tournament like this so I’m very happy and I hope this will continue in the future.”

Team Events
The Junior Boys’ Singles and Junior Boys’ Doubles events completed; attention now turns to Junior Boys’ Team and Cadet Boys’ Team competitions.

Play commences on Friday November 20th.

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