Izumo, Zhu win world junior TT titles

Indore, Jan 24 (IANS) Japan’s Izumo Takuto and Hong Kong’s Zhu Chengzhu on Sunday became champions in the boys’ and girls’ categories, respectively, at the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals at the Abhay Prashal Stadium here.

The Japanese hardly broke sweat while defeating Carlos Vedriel of Spain 4-0 in a one-sided final. On the other hand, Zhu, despite enjoying the upper hand, faced stiff resistance from Park Seri of Korea before she could better her 4-2. The winners will carry home $3,800 each while the runners-up in both sections will receive $2,100 each.

The boys’ final at the three-day table tennis meet did not raise any din that one would have expected as the Japanese was fast and attacking right from the first game. Carlos, on the other hand, having played a hard-fought semi-final, was under some sort of strain and that was very much evident in his game plan.

The fifth-seeded Japanese stopped his rival at seven points in the first two games and then hastened the proceedings further by finishing off with three and five points in the third and fourth to lift the crystal trophy.

“I played my natural game as I was determined to attack right from the word go. Carlos was making surprisingly too many mistakes and it helped my cause. I could gauge his body language after the second game and I simply kept the ball on the table for him to make mistakes,” Takuto said after the final.

In the girls’ final, Park did well initially changing her strategy with a lot of service variations, including tossed-up services, to outsmart Zhu. But the third-seeded Zhu was quick to adapt her game accordingly despite losing the fifth game which saw good rallies being converted into excellent winners by the Korean.

The win had restored some confidence in Park, but Zhu was up to the task in the next game and surged ahead with a 3-1 lead. But credit must go to the Korean for her patience as she made it 7-7 before giving away three negative points much to the delight of her rival from Hong Kong.

“When I entered the arena for the final, the loss to Park Seri in the group match was at the back of my mind. I wanted to make amends for the 2-4 loss and more determined. But she quickly changed her strategy. However, I adapted quickly to the changes. Even in the sixth game she was down but came back to level 7-7, slowing down the game. Luckily, she gave three easy points that helped my cause,” Zhu said.

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