Nikon 2011 Hong Kong Junior & Cadet Open - ITTF Premium Junior Circuit
A surprise defeat on the opening day of play for Chinese Taipei, the second seeds in the Junior Boys’ Team event at the Nikon Hong Kong Junior and Cadet Open, but when matters concluded on Thursday 4th August 2011, they stood the tallest.
Second place in their group in the first stage; Hung Tzu-Hsiang, Lee Chia-Sheng and Lai Yi-Yao had lost to the Japan ‘B’ team comprising Masahiro Otsuka, Tonin Ryuzaki and Ryotaro Ogata.
However, the young men from Chinese Taipei responded in style to clinch the precious title.
Lee Chia-Sheng, the hero of the hour, not once, not twice but three times! Photo By: Donald Chin
The Hard Way
Furthermore, they did things the hard way, the very hard way with 15 year old Lee Chia-Sheng being very much the Chinese Taipei hero.
Three matches in the second stage of proceedings were needed to arrest the title. In all three matches the verdict was three-two in favour of Chinese Taipei, in all three matches Lee Chia-Sheng was required to play the vital last match to decide the outcome.
On all three occasions he succeeded.
Versus Singapore and Hong Kong
Against Singapore he was beaten by Pang Xue Jie in the first match of the fixture (12-10, 2-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4) but then recovered to beat Clarence Chew (11-6, 11-9, 11-9); then in opposition to Hong Kong ‘A’, he proved the backbone of success.
He beat Chiu Chung Hei (11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6) before ending matters with victory over Lin Jingjie (11-9, 11-5, 13-15, 11-2).
The win booked Chinese Taipei a place in the final and then it was back to the heroics; in the second match of the fixture he suffered defeat against Yuto Muramatsu before clinching gold for Chinese Taipei by overcoming Asuka Sakai (9-11, 11-6, 14-12, 11-6).
It was nail-biting throughout, the difference between a quarter-final exit and gold was minimal.
In opposition to Singapore, Hung Tzu-Hsiang had also suffered against Pang Xue Jie (15-13, 11-7, 12-10); whilst in the third match of the duel Lai Yi-Yao had beaten Tay Jit Kiat by the very narrowest of margins (11-9, 6-11, 11-13, 12-10, 11-9) after Hung Tzu-Hsiang had defeated Clarence Chew (11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 15-13).
Similarly, against Hong Kong ‘A’ in the semi-finals it was a tense affair, especially concerning for Chinese Taipei after Hung Tzu-Hsiang had lost the opening match to Lin Jingje (11-7, 11-6, 11-13, 8-11, 11-8) and the third match had seen Lai Yi-Yao suffer against Daryl Hung (12-10, 11-9, 15-13).
Hung Tzu-Hsiang sparked the recovery against Hong Kong
However, Chinese Taipei recovered thanks the Hung Tzu-Hsiang overcoming Chiu Chung Hei (11-4, 11-5, 11-5) leaving the stage set for Lee Chia-Sheng to perform heroics against Lin Jingjie.
“Lee Chia-Sheng is playing very well this week”, was the understatement made by Li Liyi, the Chinese Taipei coach on duty. “I knew that we had a chance if we could reach the fifth match because Lee Chia-Sheng is receiving better that Hung Tzu-Hsiang.”
Rose to Occasion
A place in the final booked, Hung Tzu-Hsiang rose to the occasion and recovered from the very precipice of defeat.
He opened proceedings by beating Asuka Sakai (11-8, 12-14, 11-8, 13-11) but after Lee Chia-Sheng had lost to Yuto Muramatsu (14-12, 11-5, 11-6) and Lai Yi-Yao had suffered against Yuto Higashi (11-8, 11-7, 11-4), the momentum was firmly with Japan.
Match Points Saved
It was even more firmly with Japan when in the decisive fifth game against Hung Tzu-Hsiang, Yuto Muramatsu led 10-7, three match points.
Incredibly, Yuto Muramatsu, a defender, did not win another point.
Hung Tzu-Hsiang won five in a row to steal victory in the match and to set up victory for Chinese Taipei.
Save a Service
“Against a defender I think it is very important to keep one your services to the very last moment”, explained Li Liyi. “At 7-10, Hung Tzu-Hsiang won the point and then with his two serves to come, won both points; I though he played with great confidence.”
The stage was set for Lee Chia-Sheng but against Asuka Sakai he lost the first game 11-9.
Asuka Sakai won the first game against Lee Chia-Sheng but not the next three
Do Not Make Same Mistake
“Asuka Sakai played very well at 9-all; at the end of that game I told Lee Chia-Sheng not to worry about the loss but to focus on the next game”, said Li Liyi who with the scores level at 9-all in the third game called “Time Out”.
“It was important not to repeat the mistakes of the first game”, explained Li Liyi. “I told Lee Chia-Sheng to attack more and he did.”
He did, he won, it was Chinese Taipei gold.
Ready and Waiting
A fine performance from Chinese Taipei but at the recent Asian Junior Championships, Chinese Taipei failed to clinch one of the five places available for the Boys’ Team event at the Volkswagen World Junior Championships to held later this year in Bahrain.
They have only qualified for the individual event and are first reserves.
“We will grab the opportunity to play if it arises”, said Li Liyi. “We are eager to compete in Bahrain, at the Asian Championships India played very well against us and I think that affected our performance against Hong Kong which we lost; we want to play in Bahrain and show our potential.”
Just One Fixture not Full Distance
Certainly, the Boys’ Team event in Hong Kong was one of the closest on record; only one fixture of the five second stage duels did not go the full five match distance.
At the semi-final stage Japan ‘A’ (Yuto Muramatsu, Asuka Sakai, Yuto Higashi) beat Japan ‘B’ (Tonin Ryuzaki, Masahiro Otsuka, Ryotaro Ogata) by three matches to nil, having in the quarter-finals beaten the very impressive Chinese outfit of Zhou Qihao, Liang Jingkun and Zhang Cheng in a full distance contest.
Man of the moment for Japan in the win over China was Yuto Muramatsu; he beat Liang Jingkun (9-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5) and Zhou Qihao (11-4, 11-8, 10-12, 11-13, 11-6).
The one remaining win for Japan came from Asuka Sakai; in the vital last match of the duel, he beat Liang Jingkun (8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8).
Meanwhile, for China, Zhou Qihao accounted for Asuka Sakai (11-4, 5-11, 13-15, 11-9, 11-7) and Zhang Cheng overcame Yuto Higashi (10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 11-4).
Yuto Muramatsu paved the way for a Japanese win over China