Four Pass the First Hurdle in World Juniors Main Draw
The match-ups looked tough as the main draw for the World Junior Championships in South Africa was announced but, as with most of 2016, our players continued to reach new heights and fight for better results.
All 8 players from the US contingent headed into the Round of 64 in the singles (4 boys, 4 girls), a great start as the group stages concluded. For half of the players their journey would end in the last 64 players, for the other half they were able to capture outstanding results.
Kanak Jha continued his great run by taking out Kwan Man Ho, a fairly even match-up with Kwan ranked ever so slightly lower than Kanak. After racing to a 3-1 lead, Kanak had to dig deep to close out on a big comeback with the Hong Kong player pushing the match to deuce in the 7th game. He was able to hold it together and seal out a 4-3 win, 13-11 in the 7th, moving him into the last 32 players and closer to his goal.
Bowing out in the round of 64 were Adar Alguetti and Jack Wang. Alguetti faced a tough Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei who beat him in 4 games. Jack put up a brilliant effort in pushing his opponent Cho Daeseong of Korea to 7 games. Cho was the World Cadet Champion recently in Shanghai and partnered with Amy Wang to win North Americas first World Cadet Gold. Ranked top 300 in the world in the men's division, Cho would prove to be a difficult competitor, but Jack seemed up to the challenge. After losing the first two games comfortably, Jack fought back in to claim a deuce set, before going down 3-1. It was far from over as he clawed back in two more games and pushed the match to 7. Unfortunately his opponent really upped his game for the 7th and was able to end his WJC run. A great effort.
Rounding out the boys results was another superb win from Victor Liu who upset France's Joe Seyfried, currently ranked 23rd in the World for Juniors and a regular performer on the World Junior Circuit. The first two games went the way of the higher ranked player but the turning point arrived, swiping a 12-10 victory in game 3, it was Victor Liu who stormed across the finish line in six games with a 4-2 scoreline. A junior world ranking gap of 85 for Liu who is ranked 108, what a hurdle to overcome! Congratulations.
In the girls singles it was close sets for Angela Guan who pushed her case all the way. The pivotal point of the match was at deuce with the match tied 1-1 where top 200 ranked Marie Migot of France was able to take the game and extend her lead to win 4-1.
Grace Yang had a very tough opener against Audrey Zarif, a young player ranked top 150 in the Women's World Rankings. She managed to steal away game two but it was a 4-1 ending for the higher ranked player in the end.
Crystal Wang punched her win in over Germany's Janina Kammerer with a 6 set victory, she was able to take a 2-0 lead before Kammerer drew the match up at 2-2. Changing tact it was Wang who secured the win and locked in the next two games.
One of the great wins of the day was that of Amy Wang over England's Tin Tin Ho. The British player currently sits at 193 on the Women's World Ranking and has been popular in the UK as England's rising star player. Amy has had some outstanding results in 2016 so it was setup to be a thrilling showdown. It was a great start for Wang who took both of the first two games, a factor which could have changed the match as the back and forth began after the 2-0 lead was set in. The match swung back and forth with Tin Tin taking game 3, Amy taking game 4, Tin Tin taking game 5, before Amy was able to shut her out by winning the 6th game.
Next Round: Round of 32 Singles
Crystal Wang – Mariia Tailakova (RUS)
Amy Wang – Adriana Diaz (PUR)
Kanak Jha – Xu Haidong (CHN)
Victor Liu – Tobias Hippler (GER)
Best of luck everyone!